Published: Mon, July 08, 2019
Finance | By Loren Pratt

EU clears Connect's buy of UK airline Flybe

EU clears Connect's buy of UK airline Flybe

The future of Europe's largest regional airline, Flybe, is now secure as the European Commission has today confirmed Connect Airways' acquisition of the company.

The European Commission (EC) has formally approved Connect Airways' acquisition of United Kingdom regional carrier Flybe, the consortium said July 5.

Stobart Group's aviation unit and Virgin Atlantic own 30% of the consortium each.

Announcing the European Union clearance on Friday (July 5), a statement by Connect Airways said the purchase will provide a'foundation to secure Flybe's long-term future'.

Work is also underway to develop a new brand, which will be announced in due course. Flybe CEO Christine Ourmieres-Widener said May 28 that she would leave the airline July 15. The three groups hope that the combination of FlyBe and Stobart Air (currently owned by Stobart Group) will combine to form a strong regional counterpart to Virgin Atlantic's long-haul operations. Part of the plan will include improved connectivity between United Kingdom regional airports and Virgin Atlantic's long-haul network, particularly at London Heathrow and Manchester Airports.

Connect Airways chairman Lucien Farrell, said: "Today is an important day as Connect Airways takes full control of Flybe, bringing the team together with Stobart Air".

"Our whole team is focused on redefining the experience for our customers, as we rediscover the excitement and passion of being Europe's largest regional airline".

"I'm excited to build on the successful partnership Virgin Atlantic has enjoyed with Flybe - and how we can enhance the experience for our mutual customers, once Connect Airways joins the Virgin family and operates under its new brand".

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