A devastated Flybe air stewardess broke down in tears as she described the heartache of becoming jobless from the airline’s collapse.
Katherine Densham, who had worked for the carrier for 13 years, wept as she told a reporter, “I’m not sure what I’m going to do.”
She said: “I’ve worked for them since leaving college.
“I’m not sure what I’m going to do now.
“I heard in the early hours of the morning.
“It’s a shock, I thought we’d be safe but not this time.”
When asked what she planned to do next, she replied: “No idea. Try and find some way to pay the bills.”
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Ms Densham confirmed that staff were sent an email by Flybe boss Mark Anderson after rumours of the collapse broke on social media last night.
Now 2400 workers face an uncertain future as they look for new jobs in an industry that saw Monarch and Thomas Cook airlines go bust over the past three years.
Flybe collapsed after panic over coronavirus dealt the carrier’s fragile finances a killer blow – leaving tens of thousands of passengers stuck at airports home and abroad.
EasyJet has offered free flights home for stranded Flybe passengers and staff, while the government has requested that train and bus companies accept Flybe tickets.
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The carrier narrowly avoided going under in January but has continued to lose money.
It had tried to broker a £100 million ($A194 million) rescue loan with the government, but a deal could not be done in time.
A drop in demand for flights caused by the coronavirus fears “made a difficult situation worse” for the budget airline.
Mr Anderson last night told of his “enormous sadness” in a letter to staff in which he said Ernst & Young are expected to be appointed as administrators for the company.
“It’s with enormous sadness and a deep feeling of sorrow that I share the upsetting news that Flybe is shortly being put into administration,” he wrote.
“Despite every effort, we now have no alternative – having failed to find a feasible solution to allow us to keep trading.
“Although I have only had the honour of being your CEO for eight months, its been an incredible privilege to lead such an amazing team of people and the Flybe family.”
Many passengers are now stranded in the wrong city with no means of getting home as seizure notices are placed on Flybe planes across the country.
When Monarch and Thomas Cook collapsed, the Civil Aviation Authority (CAA) was ordered by the Department for Transport to launch a major repatriation operation to fly them home.
But the CAA has now confirmed the government would not order a publicly funded widespread repatriation of stranded Flybe passengers.
In an effort to help stricken flyers, the government has told rail and bus firms to accept Flybe tickets and easyJet has offered those stuck at airports free flights home.
RyanAir has launched rescue fares starting from $39 on five routes to accommodate those affected.
Among those left in the lurch is Debbie Jonathan, who had forked out $313 to fly from Manchester to Exeter to visit her ex-serviceman son at the end of March.
But the 51-year-old said she had to cancel the weekend trip to see her son after the Flybe collapse as she was unable to drive to make the trip due to her fibromyalgia, an auto-immune disease that causes pain all over the body.
She told Sun Online: “I only get to see my son about twice a year.”
And she has almost given up on the trip to see her 30-year-old son, saying she needs to get the money back before she is able to book any more travel.
Debbie, of Bradford, West Yorkshire, said: “I paid on debit card so I’m hoping I can get it back from them but I don’t think we’ll be going anymore.
“I can’t afford to pay any more money until I can get the other money I spent back.”
And biology student Gabriela Ribeiro, 22, is now stuck in Birmingham after her flight home to Aberdeen for tonight was cancelled.
She had flown to the West Midlands for a PhD interview at University of Warwick last night – but received a text message telling her that the return flight would no longer be going ahead.
Gabriela told Sun Online: “I was quite lucky because I came here from Aberdeen at 9pm last night – it was a flight from Glasgow that was one of the last Flybe flights to leave.
“But now I’m stuck.
“I’m in Warwick and I got a text message. It just said, ‘Flybe has gone into administration, don’t go to the airport.
“That was at 6 in the morning – what a way to start the day.”
She said she had since called train services but was told a ticket home could cost more than $392 – something she can’t afford.
Gabriela said: “I have to get home, I have lectures and exams and stuff.
“It’s so stressful, I don’t know what to do.”
Patricia Quirke, 60, booked $143 flights from Dublin to Cardiff yesterday – hours before the collapse of the airline.
She told The Sun Online: “I just found out the news on my phone about Flybe – I just said, ‘What?’”
Patricia, who lives in Cork, said she had booked the flight to Wales to visit a friend – unsure how she would be able to travel there for future trips.
“I feel really sorry for those people who are stranded,” she said. “It’s awful.”
Phil Hoult was on a flight from Manchester bound for Exeter when it was grounded on the tarmac.
He believes he is one of the last passengers ever to travel on a Flybe flight.
Phil said: “It was really weird.
“It was hot and everybody was worried we’d be kicked out the airport with nowhere to go.
“Then all of a sudden the captain came out and told us they’d been playing with our emotions and we could go.”
Phil, who travelled up and back in a day for a funeral, said the plane eventually landed at 11pm, more than an hour after it was meant to.
He added: “It was a very long day.”
Staff have also been left devastated by the airline’s collapse with hundreds now forced to look for new jobs.
Back in January, it was thought a £100 million ($A194 million) bailout had been agreed between the government and Flybe to save the beleaguered airline from collapse.
Former business secretary, Andrea Leadsom, tweeted at the time: “Delighted that we have reached agreement with Flybe’s shareholders to keep the company operating, ensuring that UK regions remain connected.
“This will be welcome news for Flybe’s staff, customers and creditors and we will continue the hard work to ensure a sustainable future.”
This article originally appeared on The Sun and has been republished with permission