Hopes of Flybe returning to skies increase

The new owner of Flybe has applied for a UK operating licence – raising hopes the former Exeter-based airline is poised to take off once again.

Paul Greaves www.devonlive.com

The Civil Aviation Authority has received an operating licence application from Thyme Opco, which bought the company in October.

Flybe was the largest independent regional airline in Europe before collapsing in early 2020 due to financial difficulties.

The news of the operating application is the first concrete step towards aircraft flying once again.

However, there is no word yet on where Flybe will be based.

East Devon MP Simon Jupp, the Exeter Chamber of Commerce and the South West Business Council have all urged the new investors to make Exeter the centre of Flybe operations once again.

Responding to the latest news the MP said: “It’s another step in the right direction to get Flybe back in our skies.

“I’ve urged the airlines new owners to bring Flybe home to Exeter Airport which will now benefit from up to £8m additional support from government to protect jobs and connectivity in our region. I fought hard for government support for our airport and I’ll continue to push for Flybe to come home.”

The airline employed 2,000 people and flew over nine million passengers a year, according to Statista.

It went into administration in March with all routes from Exeter and Newquay airports cancelled.

A deal to buy what was left of the company was struck with hedge fund firm Cyrus Capital, a company associated with Thyme Opco.

A spokesperson for Thyme Opco said in October: “We are extremely excited about the opportunity to relaunch Flybe.

“The airline is not only a well-known UK brand, 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.”