1 FEBRUARY 2021
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The return of Flybe to the skies has moved a step closer with the new owner registering its first aircraft.
The Balliwick Express, the Jersey online publication, says that Thyme Opco – the company that purchased the Jersey-founded airline’s name in October – last week added a Bombardier Dash 8-Q400 to the Civil Aviation Authority’s (CAA) register and published a tender request for a PSS system (passenger reservations and departure control IT system).
According to the CAA’s database, the 22-year-old former Austrian Airlines Q400 aircraft was registered in the UK as G-CLXC in January, having been previously OE-LGA.
Flybe’s now owner is backed by Cyrus Capital, a US hedge fund that together with Virgin Atlantic and Stobart Group, bought Flybe in 2019 but was unable to save the airline from collapse.
Founded in 1979, Flybe – as Jersey European Airways – floated as an IPO on the London Stock Market in 2012 and went into administration last March before any effects of the pandemic.
There are many questions to be answered regarding Flybe, the first being why an elderly foreign-registered aircraft was chosen to launch the fleet and why the CAA is allowing the Flybe operating licence to stand and with it the airport slot portfolio. Cyrus Capital is the major creditor of Flybe. Its London representative appears to be Lucien Farrell the majority shareholder of Thyme Opco.
Asked what the chances of Flybe 2 taking off, an experienced UK airline expert familiar with British regional operations pointed out that most of the successful Flybe routes had already been taken up by Blue Islands, Eastern Airways and Loganair. He did say that at the time of Flybe’s collapse it operated over 50 Q400s, many of which are available and the brand was strong.
A request was made to Thyme Opco's London agency for more information but was not returned. See also BTN 26 October 2020.
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