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flybmi goes into receivership, all flights cancelled – why did it happen?

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flybmi (not to be confused with Flybe) went into administration on Saturday evening.

All flights were cancelled with immediate effect.

This is the official statement published on their website:

British Midland Regional Limited, the East Midlands-based airline which operates as flybmi, has today announced that it has ceased operations and is filing for administration.

flybmi goes into receivership

flybmi operates 17 regional jet aircraft on routes to 25 European cities.

All flights have been cancelled with effect from today. Customers who booked directly with flybmi should contact their payment card issuer to obtain a refund for flights which have not yet taken place. Customers who have booked flybmi flights via a travel agent or one of flybmi’s codeshare partner airlines are recommended to contact their agent or airline for details of options available to them. Customers who have travel insurance should contact their travel insurance provider to find out if they are eligible to claim for cancelled flights and the procedure for doing so.

A spokesperson for 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.”

Why did flybmi go bankrupt?

Where was flybmi flying?

flybmi carried just over 500,000 passengers on 29,000 flights last year, using a fleet of 17 Embraer aircraft.

The airline had three main bases, in Aberdeen, Bristol and Munich, with its head office at East Midlands Airport.  flybmi served Aberdeen, Bristol, Brno, City of Derry, Dusseldorf, East Midlands, Esbjerg, Frankfurt, Hamburg, Jonkoping, Karlstad, London Stansted, Lublin, Milan Bergamo, Munich, Newcastle, Norrkoping, Nuremburg, Oslo, Paris Charles de Gaulle, Rostock/Laage, Saarbrucken and Stavanger.

As well as flying under its own brand, it sold tickets under codeshare deals with Lufthansa, Brussels Airlines, Turkish Airlines, Loganair, Air France and Air Dolomiti.

The airline is the final remnant of the old British Midland.  After IAG acquired BMI in 2012, IAG sold the non-core routes which did not fly into London to Sector Aviation.  In 2015 it came under the control of Loganair’s owner Airline Investments.

It is important to note that Loganair is not impacted by this announcement, despite the two airlines having the same parent.

Why did flybmi go into administration?

Whilst flybmi is not related to Flybe, there is no doubt that the two airlines had been facing the same issues in recent months.  This move may give Flybe the opportunity to pick up a few of the better performing routes.

Let’s be clear about one thing though – flying 522,000 passengers on 29,000 flights in 2018 means an average of just 18 passengers per flightAn Embraer E145 can seat 49 people whilst an E135 holds 37, so we are looking at very weak loads.  Whatever factors are being blamed for its closure, the answer may be closer to home than the airline wants to admit.

Comments (104)

This article is closed to new comments. Feel free to ask your question in the HfP forums.

  • Aeronaut says:

    “flybmi (not to be confused with Flybe)…”

    I suspect that will be a very common confusion of many on coming across this news.

  • Adam says:

    500,000 passengers on 29,000 flights…?

    That’s about 17 passengers per flight. No wonder they went bust.

    • Andrew says:

      It’s not ideal is it?

      Unless they had some freight or Royal Mail contracts. I recall being the only passenger on an AirUK EDI to Stansted run many years ago. They left the trolley and invited me to help myself.

      • Andrew says:

        Missed out the bit that that flight had a Royal Mail contract for EDI to LON transfers.

    • Mingus says:

      I used to fly BRS-BRU weekly and can confirm this is typical. When it got to £800rtn though, even I drove to Heathrow. Can’t help but think poor yield management was to blame. Cheapest ticket for an empty 60 minute flight with no baggage was typically £250.

      • Jonty says:

        When I took this flight it was £50 on Brussels airlines codeshare or £250 booked direct with BMI regional.
        Brussels stated you didn’t get food but on the plane all passengers treated alike

    • Alex Sm says:

      This is exactly what the original article says!

  • Simon says:

    I had 10 bookings with them, some booked on my Platinum card some on my SPG card. Phoned up AMEX to find out the next steps and got some useless offshore person who said to ring back on Monday.

    Living in Bristol, they were great, 3 flights a day to and from Frankfurt during the week, the small aircrafts meant I got and a window and an aisle seat (one row on the left hand side) plus free drink and snack.

    By all accounts their customer service was pretty useless (being closed on Saturday didn’t help) but I never had any cause to ring them.

  • MarkZ says:

    Ah! Fond memories of the old British Midland. Up to Edinburgh in the morning on BA Shuttle on a 757, when they served a decent hot breakfast, then defecting to British Midland in the late afternoon on the same ticket for the trip back to Heathrow on a DC9, with Diamond Service.

  • Tom says:

    Every time I needed to fly a route they operated the flights were you extortionate. No wonder the loads were so low…

  • Colin MacKinnon says:

    Oh for the old BMI days:

    80,000 points return Madrid to Katmandu in First Class via Bangkok (it was 80,000 points MAD to BKK in economy!)

    My introduction to points and how to spend. Never made it to Vladivostok – an internal “European” award!

  • Bazza says:

    No loss for London

    • Rob says:

      Stansted to Derry!

      • Paul says:

        Yep, which just two days ago was given funding to continue by the worst transport secretary in history. The argument will be that BMI did have planes unlike the ferry firm with any ferry’s.

  • signol says:

    I won a competition on them once, could pick any route so chose Norwich to Aberdeen. Cash tickets would have been £600 the pair, and both flights pretty full with oil workers.

    • Mike says:

      I won tickets in possibly the same competition. Took my brother on a return trip to Amritsar, popped down to Delhi by train and had a great holiday across both cities (I know just scraping the surface of that amazing country).
      Best ever redemption using the one stop in each direction rule allowing a tour of South America with stops in Rio, Santiago, Buenos Aires and Iguassu Falls.
      LHR-GIG (stop) GIG – GRU-SCL outbound.
      Return was SCL – EZE (stop, overland), IGU-CWB-GRU-LHR.
      Also a few fun hops over the Irish Sea on Embraer 145s over the years.

    • Chrisasaurus says:

      Yes unless they’d all been winning this competition too!

      (I’ll also wager they weren’t necessarily all paying retail fares)

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