Connect Airways has received merger control clearance from the European Commission for its acquisition of Flybe and Stobart Air. The deal will secure the long-term future of Flybe, Britain’s biggest domestic airline, and provide more choice for customers across the UK.
Connect Airways, which is owned by Virgin Atlantic and its partners Stobart Group and Cyrus Capital, will take over full management control of the business, with Mark Anderson formally assuming the role as CEO of Connect Airways. Alongside a new leadership team, he will be focusing upon plans to grow Flybe’s regional network, as well as expanding Stobart Air’s successful franchise business.
Mark Anderson commented: “On behalf of Connect Airways, I couldn’t be more excited by the opportunity we have to build a strong platform to consolidate the expertise of Flybe and Stobart Air in the UK and to grow our franchise flying. 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.”
Connect Airways will offer significant benefits for customers by providing more choice through improved connectivity between UK regional airports and Virgin Atlantic’s extensive long-haul network, particularly at London Heathrow and Manchester Airports. The airline’s customer experience will also be enhanced in line with the Virgin brand, which Connect Airways will use in due course.
Shai Weiss, CEO of Virgin Atlantic, added: “Mark and his team at Connect Airways have an amazing opportunity ahead of them. At Virgin Atlantic we recognise the value of great partnerships, and the network and connectivity benefits they offer customers. 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.”
Meanwhile, work is also underway to develop an exciting new brand and customer proposition, which will be announced in due course.
Virgin Atlantic recently flew the UK’s first 'Pride Flight' between London and New York City, is preparing to launch new routes to Sao Paolo and Tel Aviv, and announced a new order of Airbus A330-900neos to reaffirm its commitment to flying the cleanest, greenest fleet in the sky.