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The first airline to go bankrupt because of the coronavirus epidemic

UK-based Flybe regional air operator announced on Thursday that it had been placed under special administration, being affected by the decrease in the number of clients due to the coronavirus epidemic (Covid-19), DPA and Reuters reported.

"All flights are canceled, and the UK business has ceased operations with immediate effect." The consulting firm EY was called to handle the administration procedure, a form of protection against creditors, the company said.

A spokesman for the British Government said the Executive is working closely with the airline industry to reduce interruptions on the routes operated by Flybe.

Against the backdrop of the epidemic, Flybe is among the first airlines to go out of business since the onset of the crisis. Other major airlines, such as British Airways, easyJet, Lufthansa and United Airlines, have announced cost-cutting measures to cope with the significant drop in bookings.

But Flybe is already facing financial difficulties, had been rescued from an imminent bankruptcy in January, shareholders agreeing to invest more money, along with the Government, which provided support to the company.

The current owners of Flybe are Connect Airways, a consortium created by Virgin Atlantic, Stobart Group and Cyrus Capital. The group has invested 110 million pounds ($ 141.6 million) since buying Flybe in 2019.

The company has 68 aircraft and carries eight million passengers a year between 71 airports in the UK and Europe.