Regional airline flybmi has fallen into administration as financial pressures overwhelm another European carrier.
flybmi had operated a fleet comprising 19 Embraer aircraft, offering 600 scheduled flights a week across a network of 44 destinations in 12 European countries and employs 376 staff.
Those staff, spread across the UK, Germany, Sweden and Belgium, are now likely to face redundancy.
All flights have been cancelled with immediate effect.
“Customers who booked directly with flybmi should contact their payment card issuer to obtain a refund for flights which have not yet taken place,” the carrier said in a statement.
A spokesperson for flybmi said: “It is with a heavy heart that we have made this unavoidable announcement.
“The airline has faced several difficulties, including recent spikes 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.
“These issues have undermined efforts to move the airline into profit.
“Current trading and future prospects have also been seriously affected by the uncertainty created by the Brexit process, which has led to our inability to secure valuable flying contracts in Europe and lack of confidence around bmi’s ability to continue flying between destinations in Europe.
“Additionally, our situation mirrors wider difficulties in the regional airline industry which have been well documented.”
A spokesman added: “Against this background, it has become impossible for the airline’s shareholders to continue their extensive programme of funding into the business, despite investment totalling over £40 million in the last six years.
“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.”
flybmi customers who have booked flybmi flights via a travel agent or one of its codeshare partner airlines are recommended to contact their agent or airline for details of options available to them.
In turn, Customers who have travel insurance should contact their travel insurance provider to find out if they are eligible to claim for cancelled flights and the procedure for doing so.
Rory Boland, Which? travel editor, said: “This is terrible news for flybmi passengers, who will be seeking urgent advice on what steps to take.
“Some customers have claimed that tickets were being sold in the hours before the airline went bust, knowing full well those tickets would never be honoured, and passengers will rightly be outraged if this is proved to be the case.
“As all future flights have been cancelled, flybmi customers should explore their options for refunds.
“If you purchased your flight as part of a package you should be ATOL protected, which means you should get a refund.
“However, if you didn’t book as part of a package you may be able to claim the cost back through your travel insurance or credit card issuer, but it depends on your circumstances.”