It’s a busy day for Flybe.
Flybe has confirmed this evening that the airline has been sold to the Connect Airways consortium which comprises Virgin Atlantic, Stobart Air and Cyrus Capital.
The sale has been effected by the sale of Flybe plc’s operating subsidiaries. This was not as originally intended and had been done to circumvent the requirement for shareholder approval. This is much to the fury of Flybe shareholders, some of whom had threatened legal action to block the sale. This now means that Flybe plc is a shell company with no assets.
As far as Flybe’s operations are concerned it is business as usual for now.
As the airline is now owned by a privately owned consortium there will not be much way of formal updates on its business plans.
However we do have a flavour of what to expect:
– Flybe aircraft and routes will progressively operate under a Virgin brand. This is most likely those that serve Heathrow and Manchester. Virgin will naturally be conscious of risk to brand perception so any painful or politically unpopular decisions will be made before rebranding.
– Flybe has already sold its slots at Gatwick so will withdraw from the airport when its last remaining route to Newquay transfers to Heathrow on Sunday 31 March 2019.
– Flybe will also launch a new route from Heathrow to Guernsey from 31 March 2019.
– It will not be possible to earn or redeem Avios on Flybe flights from Tuesday 30 April 2019.
Given the poor state of Flybe’s trading and the need for the consortium to provide a bridging loan, quick action will be taken to improve Flybe’s performance. It is inevitable that some routes may be cut.