Hundreds of Flybmi passengers have been stranded overseas after their flights were cancelled following the airline’s collapse.
British Midland Regional, which operated as Flybmi, announced on Saturday that it was filing for administration. The company blamed “insurmountable” challenges caused by the uncertainty of Brexit, as well as a spike in fuel and carbon prices.
“Current trading and future prospects have also been seriously affected by the uncertainty created by the Brexit process, which has led to our inability to secure valuable flying contracts in Europe and lack of confidence around bmi’s ability to continue flying between destinations in Europe,” the firm said in a statement.
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This is by no means the first blow to the UK’s aviation sector.
Charter carrier Cello Aviation, which operated a small fleet out of Birmingham Airport, ceased trading in October, a year after Monarch went into administration. And last month Flybe admitted that it was on the verge of bankruptcy, amid “significant uncertainties presented by Brexit”.
The chief marketing officer for Ryanair, which lost €22m (£19.3m) in the last quarter, has also said “a Brexit backdrop” may mean slower growth in the UK than in the EU over the next financial year, reports the Financial Times.
But Alex Brummer, city editor for the Daily Mail, argues that there is a far broader malaise among airlines.
“The rise of a new generation of discount carriers, challenging the dominance of established no-frills players such as easyJet and Ryanair, means that there is huge overcapacity in the industry,” he writes.
As the number of seats outstrip the number of travellers, prices have been pushed down, which has been “destructive for the discount carriers”, Brummer continues.
Transatlantic carrier Norwegian and Hungarian-owned Wizz Air are also facing losses, while tour operator Thomas Cook has put its profitable airline up for sale.
“Of course, all of this is little comfort to the thousands of Flybmi passengers left stranded in Europe, or at UK airports, by the company’s demise this weekend, but they are victims of an industry in distress,” Brummer adds.
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