British airline files for bankruptcy, blames Brexit uncertainty

Media playback is unsupported on your device                  Media caption Mary Ward told us she doesn't know how she's going to get home

Media playback is unsupported on your device Media caption Mary Ward told us she doesn't know how she's going to get home

It had 376 employees in Britain, Germany, Sweden and Belgium.

FlyBMI has today collapsed into administration.

The airline operates two return flights each day from Derry to Stansted, except on Saturdays when it is reduced to one flight each way.

The British regional airline has been struggling for a long time and says that it has been pushed over the edge by Brexit. The carrier now operates a fleet of four Embraer ERJ-135 and 15 ERJ-145 jets. As such, all of the airline's flight have now been suspended.

The City of Derry Airport said it is "reviewing options" to resume a route to Stansted after Flybmi provided the only direct air connection between Londonderry and London. Another two Embraer jets based in Munich will position to the United Kingdom this afternoon.

Flybmi crew who were scheduled to work on weekend "night-stops" have been flown back to the UK.

Flybmi was previously part of iconic United Kingdom airline brand British Midland International (BMI).

The airline, which had also done business as British Midland, was a relatively small player, with just 17 planes and 25 destinations.

Flybmi is not the first airline of its kind to shut down.

Rob Griggs of Airlines UK said other factors were also at play, including the depreciation of sterling after the vote to leave the EU.

The airline has several partnerships with worldwide carriers.

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The bankrupt airline warned passengers booked on its services not to turn up for flights after Sunday.

The airline's managing director Jonathan Hinkles said: "It's always really sad to see an airline go out of business and our thoughts are with all those affected - particularly staff members". In the meantime, the European planemaker is looking for a new shuttle operator.

The announcement came as a surprise to the traveling public, as the airline had been promoting its trademark discount fares right up until its collapse.

As of Saturday afternoon, Flybmi is continuing to sell tickets.

A spokesman for the Department for Transport described the situation as "very disappointing" and said the government was focused on supporting affected passengers.

In lengthy advice posted online, it told customers not to travel to airports unless they have re-booked flights with alternative providers. The airline is the latest in a series of European Airlines to collapse. The airline faced fierce competition from both sides and collapsed amid its flawed strategy.

Last year, Flybmi operated 29,000 flights carrying 522,000 passengers giving an average passenger load of 18 people per flight.

High fuel prices and over-capacity are also proving a challenge.

"Small airlines which do not have the weight of their bigger rivals are particularly vulnerable", he said.

Loganair and Ryanair are now the only airlines serving City of Derry airport.

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