UK airline FlyBe 'just hours away' from collapse amid coronavirus impact - reports

British regional airline Flybe is reportedly 'just hours away' from going into administration as the company struggles with the economic impact of the coronavirus outbreak.

The airline had been promised a multi-million dollar payout from the UK government just weeks ago to keep it in the air.

FlyBe aircraft currently remain on the ground in the UK and the BBC says reliable sources have told its business editor that the airline will cease to operate "within hours".

The FlyBe website was replaced with an error message on Thursday afternoon.
The FlyBe website was replaced with an error message on Thursday afternoon. Photo credit: FlyBe.com

The airline told Newshub they wouldn't be commenting on any speculation at this stage.

On Thursday morning, Flybe said its flights out of Birmingham been delayed “following a miscommunication regarding re-fuelling.” 

FlyBe began flying in 1979 under the name Jersey European Airways, before it was rebranded British European Airways in 2000 and then FlyBe just two years later.

The airline has 54 De Havilland Dash 8 aircraft, similar to those operated on Air New Zealand's regional network, and has nine Embraer 175 jet aircraft which can carry up to 88 passengers.

It flies regionally within the UK as well as internationally to cities including Paris, Berlin, Milan, Amsterdam and Innsbruck in Austria.

The airline employs over 2500 people and carries around 8 million passengers every year.

The COVID-19 outbreak has killed more than 3200 and drastically affected several airlines around the world, but if FlyBe completely shuts down, it will be the first to do so amid the crisis.

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