The airline Flybe has just landed safely after failing finances in its business model had led to a take over by a consortium of Virgin Atlantic, Cyrus and the Stobart Group.
With a head office at Exeter but routes to and from many UK airports the immediate injection of around £20m will be a relief to its over 2,000 staff.
Flights currently booked with the airline will continue as the name of Flybe slowly disappears and will be replaced by aircraft carrying the Connect Airways logo.
FLYBE NOW FLYBEEN
The airline has nearly 80 aircraft and the intention of the new group is to put in additional £80m into the airline in order to invest in its business and support its growth.
Virgin Atlantic uses airports like Manchester, Heathrow and Gatwick and the current Flybe feeder routes will be very useful in getting passengers to connect easily with their long haul routes but perhaps less so for other airports around the country.
FLYBE TAKEOVER SWITCH TO SOUTHEND?
With the Stobart Group interest in Southend Airport too it is likely that there could be a lot more development there in the future.
Although one airport like Southampton that has a high proportion of Flybe routes will have to hope that it will still keep them under the new set up going forward.
The airport boss there Managing Director Neil Garwood said: “We have a very good relationship with all our airlines and Flybe continues to be a very important business partner for us. “We are looking forward to working with Connect Airways and continuing to serve the needs of our passengers. This is another exciting development that we hope will support our growth ambitions in the years ahead.”
The Stobart Group have been building up business and routes at Southend and they also have an interest in an airport on the outskirts of Carlisle where the Stobart group started from.
Christine Ourmieres-Widener, Flybe’s CEO said: “Flybe plays a vital role in the UK’s transport infrastructure with a UK regional network which uniquely positions it to benefit from growing demands from long haul carriers for passenger feeder traffic. We have successfully implemented a clear strategy in recent years focused on tighter fleet management, improving revenue per seat and increasing load factors. The pursuit of operational excellence has reduced maintenance times and increased efficiencies and customer satisfaction.
“However, the industry is suffering from higher fuel costs, currency fluctuations and significant uncertainties presented by Brexit. We have been affected by all of these factors which has put pressure on short-term financial performance. At the same time, Flybe suffered from a number of legacy issues that are being addressed but are still adversely affecting cashflows.
“By combining to form a larger, stronger, group, we will be better placed to withstand these pressures. We aim to provide an even better service to our customers and secure the future for our people.”
Flybe is Europe’s largest regional airline and operates more internal flights than any other airline in the UK. It operates 192 routes to 14 countries from over 70 departure points in the UK and Europe. It is the largest scheduled airline measured by air traffic movements at Aberdeen, Belfast City, Birmingham, Cardiff, Doncaster, Sheffield, Exeter, Glasgow, Isle of Man, Jersey, Manchester, Newquay and Southampton airports.
Currently Flybe operates a fleet of 76 aircraft and is the most punctual UK-based airline in a report on ‘Best and Worst Airlines’ issued by ‘Which’ last year.
This Flybe takeover has ended the speculation after last November it was announced that the company had put itself up for sale.