ATW Online; Tuesday 15 October 2019
Flybe to be renamed Virgin Connect

UK regional carrier Flybe will be rebranded as Virgin Connect, reflecting its new ownership.

The 40-year-old Exeter-based carrier was bought earlier this year by Connect Airways, an acquisition vehicle made up of Cyrus Capital (40%), fellow UK regional airline Stobart Group (30%) and long-haul specialist Virgin Atlantic (30%).

Flybe, Europe’s largest regional airline, has a fleet of 70-plus aircraft largely based around 54 De Havilland Dash 8-400 plus five ATR 72 turboprops, together with six Embraer E195 and 11 E175 regional jets.

Connect Airways CEO Mark Anderson unveiled the airline’s new title in front of 200 Flybe colleagues Oct. 15, an event he described as marking the beginning of the airline’s journey as part of the extended Virgin family.

Virgin Connect says it aims to improve the passenger experience; this will likely draw on Virgin Atlantic’s onboard service standards.

Anderson said the airline would “remain true to our heritage and reason for being, which is offering essential regional connectivity to local communities.”

Virgin Connect would “offer travel that is simple and convenient, with the personal touch. Our customers will naturally expect the same exceptional travel experience as they do with other Virgin-related brands.”

Details of the rebranding were not revealed, although it is known the company’s aircraft will switch from their current distinctive purple color schemes to the red of Virgin Group companies.

A Virgin Connect spokeswoman told ATW that details of the new identity would be progressively rolled out over coming weeks, but the fleet would be rebranded by the end of 2020.

By: Alan Dron

NS Comment: Flybe has come a long way since the Jersey European days. Good luck on the new arrangements.