Flybe is Europe’s largest regional airline, and has now collapsed into administration. All flights were grounded on Thursday just after 3am with the business ceasing trading “with immediate effect.”
Pilot’s union Balpa has since accused both the airline owners and the Government of “betrayal and broken promises”.
The GMB union has said there are a further 1,400 jobs within the supply chain at risk in addition to the 2,400 Flybe staff.
GMB also said the future of regional airports is at risk.
Flybe had narrowly avoided going bust in January but continued to lose money since then.
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In a statement, chief executive Mark Anderson said the company had made “every possible attempt” to avoid collapse but had been “unable to overcome significant funding challenges”.
He said: ”The UK has lost one of its greatest regional assets.
“Flybe has been a key part of the UK aviation industry for four decades, connecting regional communities, people and businesses across the entire nation.
“I thank all our partners and the communities we have been privileged to serve.
Flybe collapse: The airline grounded flights just after 3am on Thursday
“Above all I would like to thank the Flybe team for their incredible commitment and dedication.”
Mr Anderson also said: “The coronavirus has impacted both our shareholders and ourselves and has put additional pressure on an already difficult situation.”
As coronavirus spreads around the world, travel restrictions have led to flight cancellations and fewer bookings.
COVID-19 as it is officially known is a virus which impacts the respiratory system, causing shortness of breath, coughing and fever.
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Figures from the International Air Transport Association (Iata) showed a decline in bookings, with one unnamed airline reporting a fall in flight bookings to Italy – a hotspot for the virus – by 108 percent.
The organisation said: “Many carriers [are] reporting 50 percent ‘no-shows’ across several markets.”
If customers fail to catch their flight, airlines can take the revenue and in some instances keep Air Passenger Duty.
However Iata warned: “Future bookings are softening and carriers are reacting with measures such as crew being given unpaid leave, freezing of pay increases, and plans for aircraft to be grounded.”
Flybe collapse: Map of cases of coronavirus around the world
Flybe collapse: Coronavirus is continuing to spread around the world
Coronavirus cases are continuing to grow, and with the potential for further travel restrictions airlines could face yet more decline in sales.
Around the world, 94,380 people have been infected by coronavirus – a number which is increasing daily.
China, South Korea, Italy and Iran are the worst hit areas – but cases are also growing in the United States, United Kingdom and France.
Prime Minister Boris Johnson warned earlier this week the situation will get worse before it gets better.
Mr Johnson said coronavirus is “a problem” that is “likely to become more significant”.
However he added the country is “very, very well prepared” and said people should continue with their business as usual for the moment.
The Government’s four phase plan was unveiled on Tuesday and revealed emergency legislation which would come into effect if needed.
The Prime Minister said: “It is necessary to have some legislation in respect of things like school operations, borders, quarantine but these are exceptional and short term.
“They are not intended to last beyond the outbreak.”