Collapsed regional airline Flybe could restart operations as soon as next year, after a former shareholder stepped in to buy its remaining assets.
The airline plans to “start off smaller than before”, its new owner Thyme Opco said, without giving further details.
Before its collapse in March, Flybe carried eight million passengers a year and ran 40% of regional UK flights. However, there are questions over whether the airline still has a valid operating licence. And the BBC understands that if the deal is approved by regulators then Flybe will be significantly smaller than it was before.
Flybe was a central carrier for many of the UK’s smaller airports, operating 80% or more flights from Southampton, Exeter and Belfast City airports. When it collapsed, it employed about 2,200 people, many in the Exeter area.
But while other carriers have stepped in to replace some routes, many flights it operated have not been saved, creating concern for those in the areas affected.
Photo – top of page – 2012 – Ken Fielding