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Flybe appears set to return with new licence application

written by Hannah Dowling | December 7, 2020

Collapsed regional airline Flybe may be set to return from the dead, after the airline’s hedge fund owner applied for a UK operating licence.

Thyme Opco, a holding company owned by Cyrus Capital, has applied for an operating license with the UK Civil Aviation Authority for the Exeter-based regional carrier.

New-York based Cyrus Capital was Flybe’s biggest shareholder, prior to the airline filing for bankruptcy in March, right as the global pandemic hit.

Cyrus set up shell company Thyme Opco last month in order to resuscitate Flybe as a pared-back version of its old self.

A Cyrus spokesperson said: “The airline is not only a well-known UK brand, but it was also the largest regional air carrier in the EU, so while we plan to start off smaller than before, we expect to create valuable airline industry jobs, restore essential regional connectivity in the UK, and contribute to the recovery of a vital part of the country’s economy.”

In early March, the already beleaguered Flybe became arguably the first major airline casualty of the coronavirus pandemic, when the business plunged into administration, resulting in 2,300 job losses.

It was then Europe’s largest regional, carrying 9 million passengers per year and accounting for around 40 per cent of domestic flights in Britain.


It served more than 80 airports including Belfast, Birmingham, Exeter, Manchester and Southampton. Since then, more than a dozen Flybe routes have been taken on by rival Loganair.

Flybe’s failure came as the pandemic hit Britain, prompting Cyrus and fellow shareholders Virgin Atlantic and Stobart to walk away from further investment in the carrier.

The trio was pushing for an additional £100 million bailout just two months after the UK government approved a rescue package for the carrier that included government tax deferrals, reduction of air passenger duties, alongside a cash injection from private shareholders.

The additional bailout was not granted, causing all three shareholders to wash their hands of the airline.

Rumours spread in October that Cyrus was in talks with administrators about a bid to resuscitate the airline.

Flybe appears set to return with new licence application Comment

  • Probably good if FLYBE returned, but they need to address their ridiculously high baggage rates, and a bit more flexible on same day same route flight changes. Have had many flights with them when visiting family in the UK, on the Q400s and Embraers. COVID didnt kill them, they were well in the poo before it arrived, but certainly didnt help their survival.
    Good luck to them.

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