Flybe Is Now Owned By Virgin Atlantic
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Flybe styled as flybe, is a British airline based in Exeter, England. Until its sale to Connect Airways, it was the largest independent regional airline in Europe. Flybe carries 8 million passengers a year between 81 airports across the UK and the rest of Europe, with over 210 routes across 15 countries.
Its two hubs are Manchester and Birmingham airports but it also has a number of codeshares allowing connections to long-haul flights from airports such as London Heathrow, Paris CDG, Dublin and Amsterdam. The airline is a member of the European Regions Airline Association.
The airline launched in 1979 as Jersey European Airways following the merger of Intra Airways and Express Air Services. In 1983 the airline was sold to Walker Steel Group, which also owned Spacegrand Aviation, and the two airlines were merged under the Jersey European name in 1985. Jersey European was renamed British European in 2000 (shortened to “BE”), and received its current name in 2002.
Flybe Is Now Owned By Virgin Atlantic
Just on Thursday evening, Flybe is now owned by Virgin Atlantic and a Stobart Group consortium.
Before now, Virgin Atlantic has confirmed it is looking into a potential bid for struggling UK regional airline Flybe
This was despite last minute interest from a Mesa Air, an Arizona-based commuter airline, which had proposed an alternative deal in conjunction with two investment funds, Bateleur Capital and Avenue Capital. The Mesa Air proposal was contingent on the Virgin Atlantic sale plans being postponed.Flybe rejected the proposal on the grounds that it had a legally binding deal to sell its operating subsidiaries which could not be broken, and that it had already drawn £15m of the £20m credit facility provided by the Virgin-led consortium.
What does the Future Holds For Flybe?
With the sale completed, the new owners – who are working through a company called Connect Airways – can move on with their plans.
These were outlined in the offer document for Flybe:
“simplifying and focusing on improving the performance of Flybe Limited’s core network whilst recognising the importance of regional connectivity;
adjusting Flybe Limited’s network to improve connectivity with Virgin Atlantic’s long-haul network, particularly at London Heathrow Airport and Manchester Airport, bringing more choice to customers; and
operating the Combined Group as an independent company, and optimising the combined commercial, operational and functional expertise and scale of Virgin Atlantic and the Stobart Group.”
Henceforth, the business will be rebranded under a Virgin brand, but not necessarily Virgin Atlantic. Virgin Connect seems a possible bet although these days much depends on what internet domain you can acquire.
Flybe launches Heathrow to Guernsey
The first new move is launching Heathrow to Guernsey!.In surprise news earlier on Thursday, The regional Airline announced a daily flight between Guernsey and Heathrow this Summer. This service is being underwritten by the State of Guernsey to the tune of £800,000. It is using the slot pair that Virgin had leased to now-bankrupt Cobalt Air for a Larnaca service.The services starts on 31st March and will operate until the end of the Summer season in late October.
The times are a bit odd, to be honest, but match the old Cobalt service:
Depart Heathrow 5.20pm, arrive Guernsey 6.25pm
Depart Guernsey 2.40pm, arrive Heathrow 3.45pm
It is presumably using Terminal 2 as only T2 and T5 can handle domestic arrivals. The Regional Flybe will use a Bombardier Dash 8 Q400 aircraft with 78 seats.
There is a special page on Guernsey on the Flybe website which you can find here. Local airline Blue Islands operates as a Flybe franchise partner which is why there are so many existing routes, although the new service is ‘mainline’ Flybe.
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