The demise of Flybmi, unlike the Monarch collapse last year, came as a shock to many.
That includes the Department for Transport who had no clue of its impending announcement. And particularly the passengers who were still allowed to book seats only the day before.
The reasons given for the airline going into administration included all the usual elements quoted these days, including Brexit. No doubt the situation surrounding our exit from Europe did not help, as Europe was the main destination for Flybmi. However, there is no question that the price of oil, and not so great passenger numbers boarding their flights had a lot to do with it, and the airline has been balancing on a tightrope for some time.
It will be interesting to see, as the days go by, the comparison in the response by the Government - when they repatriated most of the Monarch passengers, and in this instance - appearing at the moment to be in their own words “focused on supporting Flybmi customers”. Why should Monarch passengers get repatriated and Flybmi passengers not?
It’s all to do with the size of the problem, of course. Which raises the question of airline insolvency once again. The Government ordered a review into airlines going bust following the Monarch debacle, and by coincidence they are just about to publish their first recommendations - probably within the next month. However, don’t expect any resolution soon, as anything that is agreed (and expect a robust response from airlines in good health) will require Parliamentary approval.
How ironic that for years the travel trade has proposed a £1 fee to be levied on all departures ex UK. Had the Government taken our advice, then all passengers, no matter what airline they were travelling with, would have been repatriated or refunded. That’s why we asked the insurance industry to introduce SAFI (Scheduled Airline Failure Insurance) all those years ago - to try and protect our own customers.
UPDATE 17/02/19 2.00pm
Loganair, which is owned by the same holding company as Flybmi, has announced it is taking over the three Aberdeen routes to Bristol, Oslo and Esbjerg which is good news for passengers departing the North of Scotland. So, hopefully Loganair can secure the future of these routes for some time to come.
Ken McLeod - SPAA President
SPAA member travel agency customers : If you have purchased a ticket for future travel on FlyBMI from an SPAA member travel agent, or are currently at your destination and have a return ticket - please contact the member concerned via the usual channels, or see below :
For current CAA advice on FlyBMI (as at 17/02/19 12.00noon) : click here
For FlyBMI Press Release (as at 17/02/19 12.00noon) : https://www.flybmi.com