On Thursday, AirlineRatings.com released its annual list of the world’s safest airlines.
Flybmi has left hundreds of passengers stranded throughout Europe after the British regional airline abruptly ceased operations without warning after going bankrupt.
British Midland Regional Limited, the airline that operates as Flybmi, made the announcement Saturday after filing for administration (the British version of bankruptcy) because of inflated fuel costs and uncertainty over Britain’s departure from the European Union.
“It is with a heavy heart that we have made this unavoidable announcement,” the airline said on its website late Saturday. “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.”
The announcement of the sudden shutdown left travelers who’d already paid for flights to fend for themselves with little notice and no refund. In fact, Flybmi told passengers, “DO NOT TRAVEL TO THE AIRPORT.”
“All Customers due to travel with the Company will need to rebook flights with an alternative airline,” Flybmi noted on their website, adding that they are “unable to arrange or reschedule any flights for you.”
Richard Edwards learned that his family’s flight from Bristol to Munich on Flybmi was “cancelled with no explanation after we had gone through security.”
Similarly, Hannah Price told Sky News she was planning to return Monday to Britain from Brussels on Flybmi: “Unfortunately for me, I was supposed to be flying home with them in less than 48 hours to Bristol. I don’t think that’s going to happen now.”
As for flights that passengers already paid for? “The Company is unable to repay Customers for cancelled flights,” Flybmi said on its website.
The airline, which operated 17 jets on routes to 25 European cities before its collapse, instructed travelers to claim a refund from their credit card company, travel insurance company or booking agent.
Interestingly enough, Flybmi was advertising flights to Germany for a wintry vacation on Twitter as recently as Friday, just a day before its collapse. There is no mention of canceled flights on their Twitter account, which is still active.
The shutdown also left more than 375 employees stationed in Britain, Germany, Sweden and Belgium hanging.
Pilots union chief Brian Strutton said the airline’s collapse came with no warning and “is devastating news for all employees.”
“Our immediate steps will be to support Flybmi pilots and explore with the directors and administrators whether their jobs can be saved,” he said.
The airlines carried 522,000 passengers on 29,000 flights last year.
Contributing: The Associated Press
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