The Sudden Collapse of a British Airline Has Caused Chaos for Its Customers

February 18, 2019, 12:30 PM UTC
Plane comes off Bristol Airport runway after landing
A BMI Embraer ERJ145 came off the runway after landing at Bristol Airport this morning, 22 December 2017, with 25 passengers on board, arriving from Frankfurt. Bristol airport is cloded for insepction after the incident causing many delays. No one is hurt. Bristol Airport tweeted "After landing at Bristol Airport at 11.36 this morning an Embraer 145 inbound from Frankfurt (flight number BM1822) left the runway while taxiing. Passengers were disembarked and returned to the terminal by coach. None of the 25 people on board were hurt. While it is too early to speculate about the cause of the incident, we are confident that it was not related to the low visibility conditions currently being experienced. We continue to work to resume operations. Contact your airline to obtain the latest flight information. The runway remains closed while information is gathered to aid investigation of the incident. The aircraft will then need to be towed to a stand and any debris cleared from the runway before flights can resume." Airplane type is the same as in the image, shot is from Brussels International Airport a few days ago. (Photo by Nicolas Economou/NurPhoto via Getty Images)
Nicolas Economou—NurPhoto via Getty Images

The sudden collapse of the British airline Flybmi on Saturday left customers stranded throughout Europe and unsure of what to do.

According to the BBC, shortly after news of the airline’s collapse broke, passengers received a text message that read “URGENT: Important message for Flybmi customers. All flights are cancelled. Please go to www.flybmi.com for further details. Thank you.” That website instructed customers to contact their credit card companies, travel insurance providers, or third-party booking partners to recoup their lost fares and re-book on alternative flights.

Flybmi offered flights to 25 European cities and operated 17 aircraft. After Flybmi’s cancellations, rival carrier Ryanair started offering “rescue fares” on several of Flybmi’s routes, and EasyJet offered special deals for Flymbmi passengers stranded at Bristol or Charles de Gaulle airports. Loganair, a regional operator that was formerly a Flybmi competitor, has agreed to take over the defunct airline’s flights from Aberdeen to Bristol, Oslo, and Esbjerg, Denmark starting March 4th.

Flybmi cited uncertainty over Brexit and rising fuel costs as the causes of its collapse, but it had been reporting losses, and its investors were providing a subsidy of £13 per customer since 2012.

Flybmi customers weren’t the only ones affected by the airline’s sudden collapse. The competitor regional airline Flybe was forced to take to Twitter to reiterate that it remained operational, telling its customers, “Flybe has nothing to do with Flybmi and our flights continue to operate as normal.”