Flybe collapse sparks scramble to hire bust airline’s staff

Flybe jets - Geoff Caddick/AFP
Flybe jets - Geoff Caddick/AFP

Airlines are rushing to recruit staff who have lost their jobs at Flybe following the airline's collapse, as the industry gears up for what is forecast to be a busy summer holiday season.

British Airways, Jet2, easyJet, Wizz Air, Ryanair and Tui are among the carriers to have publicly pitched to affected Flybe staff following the regional airline’s collapse in the early hours of Saturday morning.

Senior recruitment staff at multiple airlines have been advertising vaccines on LinkedIn and other job sites, with hundreds of open positions available across the industry.

Flybe’s collapse into administration for the second time in two years has left 277 staff out of work.

Kristan Smith, Jet2’s senior first officer, said: “Devastating news for the staff and crews at Flybe. Fortunately, recruitment in the industry is strong and I am hopeful most will find employment with other airlines.”

Jet2 is hiring cabin crew at Bristol and Stansted airports, while Wizz Air encouraged affected Flybe crew to attend its cabin crew recruitment day in Birmingham next month.

British Airways said it is “actively” hiring cabin crew at London City and Gatwick. Alison Jackson, head of talent acquisition at easyjet, said the airline was still looking for cabin crew for Summer 2023, as well as various head office roles.

Martin Chalk, of the British Airline Pilots' Association, said there were jobs “out there for displaced staff”.

The scramble to snap up qualified employees comes as the aviation industry braces for a strong holiday season this year despite the cost of living crisis. Earlier this month Ryanair reported its busiest week for bookings in its history.

Airlines are hoping to avoid a repeat of the chaos seen at airports last summer when staffing shortages created huge delays and disruption. Many of the biggest airlines and airports struggled after laying staff off during the pandemic only to find it difficult to hire them back in the same numbers.

While most carriers claim to have hired enough staff to meet demand this year, there are still many vacancies across the industry.

A TUI employee said the airline had “many amazing opportunities” for displaced staff, including back office, cabin, and cockpit.

The airline is currently hiring staff for summer 2023 at Luton, Derby, Stansted, Cardiff, and Bristol.

Sharon Wheatman, head of cabin crew at BA, wrote on Linkedin: “For any of the Flybe cabin crew that would like to continue with their flying career, we are recruiting for direct entry Senior Cabin Crew.”

Flybe shed 2,000 staff three years ago when it first collapsed – only to relaunch in April last year.

After falling into administration, the airline has cancelled all planned flights to and from the UK, affecting some 75,000 passengers and leaving many having to make alternative travel arrangements.

Airlines including BA, EasyJet and Ryanair have been putting on special “rescue” fares to help passengers hit by Flybe’s collapse.