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Another Day, Another Airline Bailout

Another Day, Another Airline Bailout
Jackie Reddy

It has been announced that Virgin Atlantic – along with the Stobart Group and Cyrus Capital – have begun the process of acquiring regional carrier Flybe, which has been up for sale since late last autumn. The company will continue its operations but will eventually be rebranded as Virgin Atlantic.

Virgin Atlantic and British infrastructure company the Stobart Group – along with Cyrus Capital – have begun their acquisition of struggling regional carrier Flybe, which has been up for sale since last November, i reports.

Under the terms of the agreement, Flybe will become part of Stobart Air and, as part of a joint venture, will continue to operate as Connect Airways. The group will offer Flybe a £20 ($25.6) million bridging loan to keep operations going and after the acquisition is complete, a further £80 ($102.7) million will be offered.

In an official statement, Virgin confirmed that Flybe will continue its operations across the UK and Ireland and added that it “will be rebranded as Virgin Atlantic”. Virgin Atlantic believes that this acquisition will offer customers more choice by connecting the British regions to its long-haul network.

This combined group, Virgin also explained, will operate under a single management team, one which is 40 percent owned by Cyrus, 30 percent owned by Stobart and 30 percent by Virgin Atlantic Limited.

Commenting in the acquisition for Virgin Atlantic, Shai Weiss, the airline’s CEO, said, “We are pleased to have this opportunity to partner with Stobart Group and Cyrus Capital to bring Virgin Atlantic service excellence to Flybe’s customers. Together, we can provide greater connectivity to our extensive long haul network and that of our joint venture partners Delta Air Lines, at Manchester Airport and London Heathrow.”

Offering her comments, Christine Ourmieres-Widener, CEO of Flybe, conceded that – despite the regional airline’s best efforts in recent years – it had struggled to continue its operations in the face of a variety of factors, including high fuel costs, currency fluctuations and Brexit.

However, she added that, “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.”

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