Derry to London carrier Flybmi blames 'Brexit uncertainty' for administration


The owner of Flybmi, the operator of the Derry to London air service, has said uncertainty over Brexit contributed to its placement in administration on Saturday.

British Midland Regional Limited, the East Midlands-based airline which operates as 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.”

Derry City & Strabane District Council said: "It's very disappointing news that Flybmi have gone into receivership.

"Council would like to reassure the public that its officers and representatives from City of Derry Airport are in emergency talks tonight with the UK Department for Transport to urgently seek a replacement airline."

Only this week the British Transport Secretary, Chris Grayling, announced: "Since May 2017, the Department for Transport and DC&SDC have subsidised a flight service from City of Derry Airport to London Stansted, operated by Flybmi.

"This deal will be renewed for a further 2 years, until 1 May 2021, maintaining 13 rotations per week on a 49-seater aircraft."

Sinn Féin Councillor Sandra Duffy said: “News that Flybmi has entered administration is a huge concern, particularly for the economy in the North West as it operates daily flights to London from City of Derry Airport.

“One of the reasons cited by the airline is the uncertainty caused by Brexit - yet more evidence of the destruction and disruption that the DUP and the British government are prepared to cause to our economy with their reckless Brexit agenda.

“This will obviously have implications for the new public service obligation (PSO) flight between Derry and London as well as the new route to Manchester, all of which Flybmi was due to operate.

“Of course, the loss of the airline does not mean the loss of the service and I have contacted the Chief Executive of DC&SDC to ensure every effort is made to find an alternative carrier as soon as possible so there is minimal disruption to this service."

SDLP Councillor Martin Reilly said: "This route was regularly used and heavily relied upon by many in the North West.

"The loss of this flight, and therefore the vital connection between Derry and London, will be extremely damaging for many businesses.

"It will not come as a shock to anyone that Flybmi are citing Brexit as the cause of filing for administration. The SDLP would hope that the loss of this vital service will focus the minds of Brexiteer MPs, both here in the North and elsewhere, advocating for Brexit no matter the cost.

"Councillor officers and airport officials are continuing to work to urgently find a replacement airline to service the PSO Derry to Stansted route and also efforts continue to deliver route development to other parts of England."