Flybmi, formerly known as bmi regional, has suspended operations with immediate effect.
The following statement was published on its website shortly after 18:30 GMT on Saturday 16 February 2019.
Press Release: 16 February 2019
British Midland Regional Limited, the East Midlands-based airline which operates as flybmi, has today announced that it has ceased operations and is filing for administration.
Flybmi operates 17 regional jet aircraft on routes to 25 European cities.
All flights have been cancelled with effect from today. Customers who booked directly with flybmi should contact their payment card issuer to obtain a refund for flights which have not yet taken place. Customers who have booked flybmi flights via a travel agent or one of flybmi’s codeshare partner airlines are recommended to contact their agent or airline for details of options available to them. Customers who have travel insurance should contact their travel insurance provider to find out if they are eligible to claim for cancelled flights and the procedure for doing so.
A spokesperson for flybmi said:
“It is with a heavy heart that we have made this unavoidable announcement today. The airline has faced several difficulties, including recent spikes in fuel and carbon costs, the latter arising from the EU’s recent decision to exclude UK airlines from full participation in the Emissions Trading Scheme. These issues have undermined efforts to move the airline into profit. 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. Additionally, our situation mirrors wider difficulties in the regional airline industry which have been well documented.
“Against this background, it has become impossible for the airline’s shareholders to continue their extensive programme of funding into the business, despite investment totalling over £40m in the last six years. We sincerely regret that this course of action has become the only option open to us, but the challenges, particularly those created by Brexit, have proven to be insurmountable.
“Our employees have worked extremely hard over the last few years and we would like to thank them for their dedication to the company, as well as all our loyal customers who have flown with us over the last 6 years.”
Bmi Regional employed a total of 376 employees based in the UK, Germany, Sweden and Belgium.
Flybmi operated a fleet of Embraer 135 and 145 aircraft. It operated just one schedule route from London, Stansted to Derry. It also had a larger presence at UK regional airports, notably Bristol, as well as Newcastle and Aberdeen.
The airline was formerly a subsidiary of bmi British Midland. It was sold to private investors in 2012 when bmi was acquired by International Airlines Group from Lufthansa.
The operating company, British Midland Regional Ltd, is ultimately owned by Airline Investments Ltd. This company also owns Loganair which is not affected by this news.
This, along with the acquisition of Flybe by the Connect Airways consortium, is not good news for many UK regional airports. It points to considerable weakness in the market for point-to-point regional jet services. It does also mean the final end of the bmi name.
At the time of writing there hasn’t been a response from the Civil Aviation Authority. However, guidance should be available shortly in its website.
For passengers who have purchased flights that have been cancelled, the best advice is to contact your credit company for a refund. Rival airlines may also announce “rescue fares” in the coming days. A full list of FAQs has also been published at the foot of the Flybmi website.
Update 23:30 GMT Saturday 16 February
The Civil Aviation Authority has provided general guidance for passengers on its website.
Eastern Airways confirmed on its Twitter feed that its Flybe franchise service between Norwich and Aberdeen (which was operated with Flybmi aircraft) is not affected by today’s news and continues as normal with alternative aircraft.