The resurrection of Flybe has moved one step closer after the airline’s hedge fund owner applied for a UK operating licence.
A shell company owned by Cyrus Capital, which bought the airline’s brand, stock and other equipment from administrators in October, filed an application for an operating licence with the aviation regulator.
New York-based Cyrus, whose European arm is run by Lucien Farrell, was Flybe’s biggest shareholder before it filed for bankruptcy in March.
Flybe’s failure came as the pandemic hit Britain, prompting Cyrus and fellow shareholders Virgin Atlantic and Stobart to walk away from further investment to the Exeter-based carrier afloat.
The trio were unable to convince ministers to acquiesce to a £100m bailout of what was Europe’s biggest regional carrier, despite the Conservative government’s general election pledge to “level up” the economy weeks earlier.
The collapse left Flybe’s £170m retirement pot in a parlous position. It was unable to seek the support of lifeboat the Pension Protection Fund because the scheme was based in the Isle of Man.
Last month, Cyrus set up shell company Thyme Opco to relaunch Flybe.
A spokesman for the company said: “The airline is not only a well-known UK brand, it was also the largest regional air carrier in the EU, so while we plan to start off smaller than before, we expect to create valuable airline industry jobs, restore essential regional connectivity in the UK, and contribute to the recovery of a vital part of the country’s economy.”
Meanwhile, the world’s biggest holiday operator Tui secured its third bailout of the pandemic from the German government.
Berlin granted the former FTSE 100 company an extra €1.8bn as it grapples with the economic fallout from the travel industry grinding to a near standstill.
The company has already received €3bn of state aid from Germany, bringing the total to €4.8bn (£4.3bn).
Russian billionaire Alexey Mordashov, a 25pc shareholder in Tui, said he would expand his investment alongside the bailout.
Tui's London-listed shares fell 5.8pc on Wednesday to 481.5p. The stock has halved since the start of the year.