Flybe, the largest regional airline in Europe, has gone bust. It’s the latest in a number of airlines to have collapsed in recent years due to financial problems, including Monarch Airlines, Thomas Cook and Wow Air.

The carrier narrowly avoided going bust in January but has continued to lose money since then. Belfast City is said to be one of the worst hit as 81% of its flights were operated by Flybe.

So what does this mean for travellers and their flight rights?

How many people are affected by the collapse?

Flybe carried about eight million passengers a year between 71 airports across the UK and Europe. The collapse could leave thousands of people stranded across the UK and Europe.

The company also has around 2,000 staff who have lost their jobs.

What happens to customers already on holiday?

When previous airlines such as Monarch Airlines and Thomas Cook collapsed, the Civil Aviation Authority (CAA) was ordered by the Department for Transport to launch a major repatriation operation to fly them home.

But CAA says it will not be running such a scheme for Flybe passengers because “there is capacity in the market for people to travel via alternative airlines, rail and coach operations”.

Who would pay for this?

When Monarch Airlines went bust in October 2017, the Government spent £60 million hiring planes to get passengers home while bringing back Thomas Cook passengers has been estimated to have cost even more.

Flybe: total passengers carried See story AIR Flybe.

Will travellers get a refund?

Some travel insurance companies will cover cancelled flights if they are the result of an airline collapse, but not all policies provide this coverage.

Holidaymakers can apply to their credit or debit card provider to be reimbursed.

Flights bought directly from airlines such as Flybe are not generally Atol protected but those bought through a separate travel company may be covered.

What is the Atol scheme?

Atol provides protection to holidaymakers when travel firms collapse.

Flybe collapse
(Lucinda Cameron/PA)

What type of bookings are protected?

The scheme protects most trips booked as a package, such as flights and accommodation, or flights and car hire. It also applies to some flight-only bookings, particularly when the tickets are not received immediately.

What protection does Atol offer?

If a business collapses while you are on holiday, the scheme will make sure you can finish your holiday and return home.

Customers who have not yet left home will be given a refund or replacement holiday.

Flight delays and cancellations compensation: know your rights


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