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Hundreds of passengers stranded as British airline Flybmi collapses

Flybmi has left hundreds of passengers stranded throughout Europe after the British regional airline abruptly ceased operations without warning after going bankrupt.

British Midland Regional Limited, the airline that operates as Flybmi, made the announcement Saturday after filing for administration (the British version of bankruptcy) because of inflated fuel costs and uncertainty over Britain’s departure from the European Union.

“It is with a heavy heart that we have made this unavoidable announcement,” the airline said on its website late Saturday. “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.”

The airline thanked workers for their dedication and said “it is with a heavy heart that we have made this unavoidable announcement.”

The airline operated 17 jets on routes to 25 European cities. It employed 376 people in Britain, Germany, Sweden and Belgium and says it carried 522,000 passengers on 29,000 flights last year.

Pilots union chief Brian Strutton said the airline’s collapse came with no warning and “is devastating news for all employees.”

“Our immediate steps will be to support Flybmi pilots and explore with the directors and administrators whether their jobs can be saved,” he said.

Britain is scheduled to leave the EU on March 29 but there are serious doubts about whether the British parliament will approval the Brexit withdrawal deal that Prime Minister Theresa May negotiated with the EU. That is making it more difficult for businesses to plan for the separation. Flybmi said all flights will be cancelled and advised passengers to seek refunds from credit card issuers, travel agents or travel insurance companies. Passengers were told not to travel to the airport on Sunday unless they had made arrangements directly with other airlines. Flybmi said it would not be rescheduling passengers on other airlines’ flights.

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