Airline FlyBMI has suspended all operations and is filing for administration, it has announced.
The company said it had been badly affected by spikes in fuel and carbon costs and uncertainty over Brexit.
The East Midlands-based airline offered services from various UK airports and operated 17 regional jet aircraft on routes to 25 European cities. It carried 522,000 passengers on 29,000 flights in 2018.
All flights have been cancelled with effect from today.
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.
— UK Civil Aviation Authority (@UK_CAA) February 16, 2019
“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.
The spokesperson said that against this background, it had 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,” the spokesperson said.
One passenger said he had already gone through security at Bristol airport when his flight was cancelled.
Great start to our holiday; en route with @Charlot53066691 and the family by taxi to Heathrow as our @flybmi from Bristol to Munich (which had previously been changed from Southampton) was cancelled with no explanation after we had gone through security! 😬😬😬
— Richard Edwards (@RA_Edwards9) February 16, 2019
He later added that he had arrived in Munich, having flown with Lufthansa from Heathrow.
Another tweeted: “My flight with @flybmi on the 19 Mar is up the swanny then. Charity event to be revisited as and when I get official word.”
Brian Strutton, general secretary of the British Airline Pilots’ Association (BALPA), said: “The collapse of flybmi is devastating news for all employees.
“Regrettably BALPA had no warning or any information from the company at all.
“Our immediate steps will be to support flybmi pilots and explore with the Directors and administrators whether their jobs can be saved.”
In its announcement, the airline said 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.
Bmi Regional employed a total of 376 employees based in the UK, Germany, Sweden and Belgium.