SCOTTISH airline Loganair has swooped in to take over some of services previously operated by flybmi, in what the company says is a “significant expansion” of its Aberdeen base.

Loganair will operate routes from the north-east airport to Bristol, Oslo and Esbjerg from March 4. The move comes after flybmi announced on Saturday night it has ceased operations and is filing for administration because of Brexit “uncertainty” and “spikes in fuel and carbon costs”.

Loganair said it would provide daily Monday to Friday services between Aberdeen and Esjberg. It is the airline’s first service to Denmark, serving the country’s fifth-largest city.

Flights between Aberdeen and Oslo and the service from Aberdeen to Bristol will operate on weekdays as well as Sundays.

Loganair already operates 50 flights a week from Aberdeen Airport. The airline’s managing director, Jonathan Hinkles, said: “It’s always really sad to see an airline go out of business and our thoughts are with all those affected, particularly staff members.

“We’re working on employment opportunities for pilots, cabin crew and engineering support staff to strengthen the Loganair team.”

He added: “There is no doubt that trading is tough but Loganair is – we believe – in the strongest position of any UK regional airline.

“We’ve done a lot of work over the last two years to secure our future as an independent regional airline and despite the challenges posed by fuel and carbon costs, and Brexit, we are strongly placed to take up new opportunities as they arise. Our three new routes from

Aberdeen complement our existing activity across a distinct geographical area, acting as a logical fit with our network, while also markedly increasing the airline’s presence in Aberdeen.”

It is understood a total of 1500 passengers had been scheduled to fly with flybmi, or British Midland Regional Limited, yesterday. The

company is believed to have had a total of 376 employees based in the UK, Germany, Sweden and Belgium.

It operated flights on routes to 25 European cities, including Bristol, City of Derry, East Midlands, London Stansted and Newcastle as well as Aberdeen.

It was claimed some passengers were still able to make bookings on Saturday, hours before the announcement of the airline’s collapse came. A tweet from the airline a day earlier invited people to book with flybmi for winter sports in Munich.

Rory Boland, travel editor at Which?, said: “Some customers have claimed that tickets were being sold in the hours before the airline went bust, knowing full well those tickets would never be honoured, and passengers will rightly be outraged if this is proved to be the case.”

The airline said in a statement on its website that difficulties which led to the collapse had included increases in fuel and carbon costs, and challenges “particularly those created by Brexit”.

It added: “It has become impossible for the airline’s shareholders to continue their extensive programme of funding into the business, despite investment totalling over £40 million in the last six years.

“We sincerely regret that this course of action has become the only option open to us, but the challenges, particularly those created by Brexit, have proven to be insurmountable.”

Customers have been advised to contact their payment card issuer, travel agent or partner airlines for advice on refunds.