Lufthansa and Air France-KLM are reported to be pursuing the administrators for the collapsed UK regional airline Flybe in a bid to wrest its take-off and landing slots at London Heathrow Airport.
Flybe ceased trading and all scheduled flights were cancelled on January 30, less than a year after returning from a previous collapse.
Britain’s Telegraph newspaper reported that the two major airlines were in talks with the administrators of Flybe whose collapse led to 276 workers being made redundant over Flybe’s seven pairs of take-off and landing slots at Heathrow and five pairs at Amsterdam’s Schiphol airport.
The demise of Flybe – which operated scheduled services from Belfast, Birmingham and Heathrow to airports across the UK and to Amsterdam and Geneva – did not come as a surprise according to Geoff van Klaveren, managing director, advisory at aviation consultancy IBA, who explains: “Cyrus Capital bought the business and assets, but in reality, the only real value was the 12 Heathrow slot pairs. Given that these slots were originally owned by British Airways but given up to Flybe as part of a remedy following the BMI takeover, the CAA would not allow Cyrus Capital to have the slots without being a viable operation. Cyrus found itself with no choice but to restart Flybe operations, but with an even worse strategic position than before the pandemic.”