There are promising signs that failed airline Flybe could take off once more after the new owner applied for a UK operating licence.
Thyme Opco, which bought what was left of the British carrier after an unsuccessful attempt was made to reverse its fortunes, put in an application for the licence with the Civil Aviation Authority (CAA) on Tuesday 1 December.
Formerly the largest independent regional airline in Europe, Flybe served a number of key domestic routes in the UK as well as connecting smaller British airports with Europe, until it teetered on the brink of collapse in 2019.
It was bought by a consortium comprised of Virgin Atlantic, Stobart Aviation and a US investor, Cyrus Capital Partners.
Known as Connect Airways, the group promised “an exciting new brand and customer proposition” that would be “in line with the Virgin brand”.
The consortium’s chief executive, Mark Anderson, said at the time: “I couldn’t be more excited by the opportunity we have to build a strong platform in the UK and to grow our franchise flying operation in Ireland.
“Our whole team is focused on redefining the experience for our customers, as we rediscover the excitement and passion of being Europe’s largest regional airline.”
However, just eight months after the rescue deal was approved, Connect Airways walked away when the coronavirus pandemic hit and the government refused to provide a further £100m bailout for the beleaguered airline.
The company ceased all operations and filed for administration on 5 March 2020.
What was left of the business was picked up by Thyme Opco, which is affiliated with former owner Cyrus Capital, in October 2020.