The UK’s largest regional airline Flybe is going to rebrand as Virgin Atlantic. Having struggled in recent times, a consortium including venture capital firm Cyrus, Virgin Atlantic and Stobart Air will takeover the airline.
Stobart Air is the former Aer Arann who currently operate as Aer Lingus Regional and also provide aircraft to Flybe. They are contributing their assets to the deal.
Virgin Atlantic Takeover Flybe
Consumers will see it as a Virgin Atlantic takeover of Exeter based Flybe as that will be the new brand. Flybe operate a fleet of Bombardier Dash 8 aircraft that carry over 8 million passengers per year.
Far from being a tiny little airline, Flybe are the largest operator of the Dash 8 with 54 currently in service. This allows the airline to cover a range of stations in the UK, Ireland and Europe.
This takeover will also secure the future for Flybe. The expansion of the Virgin Atlantic brand through Europe should also assist that airline with its long haul network out of London Heathrow and Manchester.
Higher fuel costs and the competitive environment have been blamed for Flybe’s less than stellar financial performance. Without the takeover, it was becoming possible the carrier would fail as it was running out of cash.
Once everything has settled, frequent flyers will be curious to know what will happen with the Flybe programme. They currently use the Avios currency that British Airways, Aer Lingus and others use. Presumably this relationship will end and people will earn in Virgin Atlantic’s Flying Club instead.
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Featured image by Melvin Debono via Jetphotos.
Virgin Atlantic Dash 8 via CarbonFibre on Airliners.net.