First Brexit airline casualty: flybmi left all passengers stranded
Airlines need to plan the exit from the EU in Britain, but with the current impossible and unpredictable situation for airlines to plan ahead, the first casualty is in flybmi.
Passengers are stranded, airlines unable to rebook today when the East Midlands-based airline FLYBMI folded. This UK airline had 376 staff, operated 17 planes and connected 25 European cities.
flybmi, legally British Midland Regional Limited and formerly branded as bmi regional head office was at East Midlands Airport in North West Leicestershire, with the registered office in the Lightyear Building at Glasgow, Scotland.
The airline had operating bases at Aberdeen, Brussels, Bristol, East Midlands, Newcastle and Munich.
flybmi, previously known as bmi Regional, was a former subsidiary of British Midland International (bmi), which was purchased from Lufthansa by International Airlines Group (IAG) on 20 April 2012. Regional was sold to Sector Aviation Holdings in May 2012 and operated as an independent airline from October 2012. In August 2015, the airline became part of a new regional airline group, Airline Investments Limited (AIL), along with Loganair.
A Flybmi spokesman said: “It is with a heavy heart that we have made this unavoidable announcement.
The airline has faced several difficulties, including a recent increase 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.
The airline issued the following advice to those due to fly:
- People who booked directly with Flybmi should contact their card issuer to seek a refund.
- Passengers who booked via a travel agent or one of Flybmi’s partner airlines should contact them to see what their options are.
- Those with travel insurance should see if they are eligible to claim for canceled flights.
The UK Civil Aviation Authority also published advice for travelers.
Advice to Consumers
If you booked directly with British Midland Regional (FlyBMI) and paid by credit card you may be protected under Section 75 of the Consumer Credit Act 1974 and should contact your card issuer for further information. Similarly, if you paid by debit or charge card you should contact your card issuer for advice as you may be able to make a claim under their charge back rules.
If you purchased travel insurance that may include cover for scheduled airline failure, known as SAFI, you should contact your insurer. If you did not book directly with British Midland (FlyBMI) and purchased your tickets through an intermediary, you should contact your booking or travel agent in the first instance.
Negative response letter
Passengers who booked directly with the company via either a credit, charge or debit card may alternatively be able to make a claim against their card provider. Some card providers will ask for a negative response letter confirming the position. Passengers may also be able to make a claim against their travel insurer. (The negative response letter will be published shortly)
Direct booking with an airline
If you paid the airline directly by credit card you might be protected by Section 75 of the Consumer Credit Act 1974. You should check with your card issuer for further advice. You may have similar cover if you paid by Visa debit card and should check with your bank.
Booked through an Airline Ticket Agent
If you booked your ticket through an airline ticket agent you should speak to the agent in the first instance; they may have provided travel insurance that includes Scheduled Airline Failure cover.
Scheduled Airline Failure Insurance (SAFI)
Some airlines and airline ticket agents will offer customers either a specific Scheduled Airline Failure Insurance (SAFI) policy or include similar protection within a broader travel insurance product. The type of protection provided may vary depending on the type of policy taken out. A policy may simply cover the cost of the original tickets purchased or any unused portion, or the additional cost of purchasing new flights, such as new tickets for travel back to the UK.
Booked with an ATOL holder (Package Holiday)
If you have booked flights or a trip that includes flights with a travel firm that holds an ATOL (Air Travel Organiser’s Licence) and received confirmation that you are ATOL protected, the travel firm is responsible for your flight arrangements and must either make alternative flights available for you so that your trip can continue or provide a full refund. If you are abroad, it should make arrangements to bring you home at the end of your trip. Contact the ATOL travel firm for more information.