(CNN) — It was one of many early casualties of the Covid-19 pandemic. Now, it seems set to be resurrected.
Flybe, at one level Europe’s largest impartial regional airline, went bust in March 2020, when Covid-19 was starting to unfold all through Europe. However seven months later, because the pandemic continues for ever and ever, the airline has been purchased — and it might even be flying once more by 2021.
The information has been welcomed by the aviation world as a sliver of hope for an trade which has been crippled by the pandemic.
The previous few years had been precarious for the UK-based airline, which had been consolidating its home routes in a bid to stave off oblivion. With its headquarters in Exeter, and working routes across the UK, from Cornwall to Scotland, the airline employed round 2,200 folks, and carried 8 million passengers a yr.
A Virgin Atlantic mini-me
But it surely had been struggling. In February 2019, it was purchased by a Virgin Atlantic-backed consortium, with plans to rebrand it as Virgin Join, utilizing the home routes to funnel passengers onto long-haul Virgin Atlantic flights.
However on March 5, the Exeter-based airline ceased buying and selling, blaming the “vital impression on demand” attributable to the coronavirus outbreak.
Now, the model and remaining property have been offered to Thyme Opco — which is linked to a hedge fund that was a part of the Virgin Join buy-out in 2019.
Not that it will take to the air beneath the Virgin title once more.
Again, however smaller than earlier than
“The deal is anticipated to permit the Flybe enterprise to restart operations as a regional airline within the UK beneath the Flybe model in early 2021,” directors EY stated in a press release.
Prior to now, Flybe supplied routes between regional UK airports and European locations, however it’s possible the relaunched airline will probably be a extra streamlined operation, at the least initially. “We plan to begin off smaller than earlier than,” a spokesperson for Thyme Opco revealed in a press release.
The airline can even be hampered by Brexit. The UK leaves the European Union on December 31, and a deal has not but been introduced. UK-based airways could not have the ability to enter EU airspace until an settlement is discovered.
A spokesperson for BALPA, the commerce union for UK pilots, welcomed the announcement. “The information will give everybody a level of confidence that restoration is coming quickly, and that their abilities and information are nonetheless going to be important,” it stated.
It might additionally pave the best way for different resurrections. Virgin Australia, Avianca and Compass Airways have all gone bankrupt for the reason that pandemic started.