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Flybe: Last ever Belfast flight takes off 'before they change their minds'

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A Flybe flight departs from Manchester Airport. PA Photo.

A Flybe flight departs from Manchester Airport. PA Photo.

PA

A Flybe flight departs from Manchester Airport. PA Photo.

Passengers on one of the last ever Flybe flights into Belfast heard how the crew decided to take off before authorities "changed their minds".

Flybe collapsed into administration overnight grounding flights and putting thousands of jobs in jeopardy.

It's collapse was blamed in part on a drop off in bookings because of the coronavirus outbreak and just months after a rescue package staved off administration. The airline accounts for 80% of flights out of Belfast City Airport - leaving it with just four routes.

Have you been affected by the Flybe collapse - contact digital.editorial@belfasttelegraph.co.uk

A Belfast bound flight out of Manchester was one of the last ever flights by the airline, arriving in the city just after midnight, on Thursday morning.

It had sat on the tarmac at Manchester for almost three hours with passengers at first told there had been an "admin issue". At one stage it had taxied to the runway before turning back.

Just before its eventual take off passengers were thanked for their patience in an announcement as they worked through a "difficult situation" as they worked with management and airport authorities.

"We are getting ready to go now, so please make sure all your phones are back off, seatbelts are back on, and we shall get moving as soon as we possibly can before they change their mind," passengers were told.

The BBC Sport journalist Holly Hamilton - who is based in Manchester but from Co Down - was also on the flight.

She said people were calm and quiet in the cabin. Many she said understood for the staff they were faced with losing their jobs.

She said the staff had no idea about what was happening and one cabin crew member broke down in tears when it dawned on her what she knew.

"This is so grim," she said.

The broadcaster said after it appeared the pilot took an important call and returned to the cockpit, they took off for Belfast.

In an announcement on landing, passengers were again thanked for their "patience and understanding on what has been a very difficult evening," with the passengers breaking into applause.

Ms Hamilton thanked the "amazing pilot and crew that got us here".

"A lot of very grateful passengers on board what looks like the last ever Flybe flight. Thanks Peter, Carol & Ingrid. A credit to Flybe," she tweeted.

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