3 MAY 2021
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BTN has reported regularly on the Flybe saga since the airline collapsed in March 2020, with the loss of at least 2,000 jobs and debts up to £789m.
US hedge fund Cyrus Capital bought its remains from Ernst & Young (EY) and renamed it Flybe Ltd. The cost so far is thought to be under £1m. It could be a lot less although they are believed to have paid the ongoing expenses.
Under the rules they also acquired (leased?) an elderly Q400 and obtained an Air Operator Certificate (AOC). They persuaded the Civil Aviation Authority (CAA) to let them acquire the ex-Flybe slots which that airline had gained with the British Airways (BA) acquisition of BMI from Lufthansa, and were also used by Virgin Red. The Newquay slots have been kept by BA but they are not currently being used, although a short summer programme is planned.
Flybe Ltd now has 86 slots at Heathrow to use on Edinburgh and Aberdeen, but only for the summer season.
As things stand these slots are of real value. This assumes that the Government will continue with the policy of rolling over all slots, the majority not being used. How long this policy will continue nobody knows. Airlines have paid huge sums in the past. According to Forbes Air New Zealand sold its limited Heathrow slots for $27m whilst Oman Air paid Kenya Airways $75m in 2016 for a single slot pair.
All comments are filtered to exclude any excesses but the Editor does not have to agree with what is being said. 100 words maximum
Barry Humphreys, UK
You say that the Heathrow slots are of real value, but they can't be sold and can only be used to serve Edinburgh and Aberdeen. I don't see a long line of airlines wanting to do this, so where's the value?
Paul Jones, Crawley
Big questions must be asked of the CAA with this one. Two thousand staff laid off and nothing for the creditors. Are those with pensions OK? If they do sell on the slots Westminster’s Transport Select Committee should be asked to investigate.