The resurrection of collapsed regional airline Flybe has moved a step nearer after it was revealed that the carrier’s new owner had applied for a UK operating licence.
The Telegraph reported that Thyme Opco, a holding company said up by hedge fund Cyrus Capital in October, had applied to the Civil Aviation Authority for the licence on Flybe’s behalf.
A spokesperson for Cyrus Capital confirmed to City A.M. that Thyme Opco had done so.
Prior to the airline’s collapse in March, US-based Cyrus was the carrier’s biggest shareholder.
However, when the pandemic struck, it was unable to broker a deal with the government to provide the Exeter-based carrier with an £100m bailout.
Flybe remains one of the only European airlines to have ceased trading due to the pandemic, thanks to record levels of support for the sector on the continent.
Given the state of the aviation market, the carrier’s potential return to the skies, less than 12 months after it collapsed, came as a surprise to many.
A spokesman for the company said: “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.”
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Prior to its collapse, Flybe had been Europe’s largest regional airline with around nine million passengers a year.
The airline served over 80 airports across the UK and Europe, accounting for more than 40 per cent of domestic flights in the UK.