Administrators for collapsed airline Flybe have applied for a temporary operating licence, the Civil Aviation Authority (CAA) has announced.
This would give the administrators from Interpath the chance to put the regional carrier on a firm footing, but flights would not initially resume.
It is the first time the CAA has received an application for a temporary licence from a failed airline.
A spokesman for the regulator said: “Flybe’s administrators have applied for a temporary operator’s licence.
“If approved, it would allow the administrators to start the process of restructuring the business.
“The UK Civil Aviation Authority has not yet made a decision on whether to grant a temporary licence.
“Flybe’s licence currently remains suspended in accordance with the undertakings given by the administrators.”
Flybe collapsed into bankruptcy for the second time in three years on January 28.
The airline’s administrators confirmed 277 of its 321 staff would be made redundant.
The Sunday Telegraph reported that airline groups Lufthansa and Air France-KLM are in talks with the administrators to buy the carrier, which held lucrative take-off and landing slots at Heathrow Airport.
Flybe was first pushed into administration in March 2020 with the loss of 2,400 jobs as the Covid-19 pandemic destroyed large parts of the travel market.
Before then it flew more UK domestic routes between airports outside London than any other airline.
Its business and assets were purchased in April 2021 by Thyme Opco, linked to US hedge fund Cyrus Capital.
Flights resumed 12 months later, with the airline based at Birmingham Airport.