THESE are turbulent times for the airline industry – and regional airports such as Leeds-Bradford, Doncaster-Sheffield, Humberside and Newcastle must now be looking to the heavens for some good news.
The uncertainty over Brexit has left many summer holiday plans on hold, at a time when bookings are traditionally at their peak.
And Yorkshire flyers have been dealt another blow with the collapse into administration of airline Flybmi just days before it was take to the skies from its new hub at Leeds-Bradford International Airport.
Flybmi filed for administration citing Brexit and a spike in operating costs – in fuel and carbon – for financial pressures it was unable to navigate its way around.
Before going into administration, the company had carried 522,000 passengers on 29,000 flights during 2018.
Many businesses across Yorkshire and the North East had welcomed the arrival of Flybmi into Leeds-Bradford as it planned to connect Yorkshire companies to Germany with new routes.
A Leeds-Bradford spokesman greeted the administration news with disappointment.
He said: “We are hugely saddened by the news that Flybmi has announced that it has ceased operations and is filing for administration.
“We would also like to thank Yorkshire’s travelling public who had started to show their support for the airline following the recent announcement of its daily service to Munich.”
The financial headwind affecting the aviation industry has already claimed a number of insolvency victims recently, including the popular low-cost carrier Germania.
Air Berlin is another former aerial heavyweight that filed for bankruptcy after failing to agree debt restructuring deals.
And Thomas Cook plc, one of Europe’s travel giants, also with a presence at Newcastle Airport, has announced plans to sell off its airline subsidiary.
The insolvency of Flybmi is the second setback to hit Leeds-Bradford in little over a year, after Monarch airlines became insolvent and collapsed into administration in October 2017.
Hundreds of jobs were lost, including at Leeds-Bradford.
And over 100,000 holidaymakers, including many from Yorkshire and were stranded abroad as the Government launched a raft of rescue flights.
In the aftermath of the administration of Flybmi, the focus will centre on whether any jobs and routes can be saved.
And while the financial challenges facing the aviation industry cast doubt over this, there is a glimmer of good news amid the black clouds gathering on the horizon.
Yorkshire’s Jet2.com – the flights and holidays company with a growing fleet at Leeds-Bradford and Newcastle Airports – is expanding.
It unveiled a massive recruitment drive which will bring 200 new jobs to Newcastle Airport – including more than 100 cabin crew positions.
While a further 350 jobs have been created at Leeds-Bradford.
Which goes to show that there is at least one successful aviation and travel business that’s very much ready for take-off.