Flybe collapse: Update on Isle of Man flights to UK due ‘next week’ – BBC News

A new carrier for flights between the Isle of Man and north-west England is “expected” to be announced next week, the chief minister has said.

Flybe’s collapse spelt the end for all routes to Manchester and Birmingham and a reduction in flights to Liverpool.

Howard Quayle said a new contract for patient transfer services would be in place “early next week”.

However, a likely date for the resumption of regular flights to the three cities has not yet been decided.

Taking over the “profitable routes” was “in the interest of carriers”, Mr Quayle said.

Responding to criticism of the speed at which the government reacted to the collapse, he insisted it had “put in contingency plans as quickly as possible”.

Mr Quayle said the Department of Infrastructure had been in talks with other operators since shortly after the carrier went bust on Thursday.

“We’ve been fast out of the blocks on this one,” he said.

However, Mr Quayle admitted new operators may want to “scale back” the frequency of flights from what had previously been available.

This would be a short term measure in the wake of the coronavirus outbreak.

He said: “I think it would be unrealistic to have a 100% normal service in the current climate. But we would look to have the same level of service going forward.”

Contingency plans for getting Manx patients to UK hospital appointments via ferry to Heysham were announced on Thursday.

But Mr Quayle ruled out bringing the Isle of Man Steam Packet Company’s fast craft, Manannan, back into service early to provide transport to Liverpool.

“We’ll have the contract in place and they will be operating the service fairly early next week,” he said.

The catamaran does not operate during the winter months due to the conditions in the Irish Sea.


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