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New Flybe airline moving closer to take off

New Flybe airline moving closer to take off

Saturday 06 November 2021

New Flybe airline moving closer to take off

Saturday 06 November 2021


The rebirth of former Channel Islands' airline Flybe has moved a step closer with the appointment of a new Chief Executive.

The airline said that Dave Pflieger (pictured top) is “a highly experienced aviation executive who has successfully led and managed multiple airline start-ups and turnarounds globally”.

Global private equity firm Cyrus Capital bought the Flybe brand for a nominal sum when it collapsed as an early and high-profile casualty of the covid-19 pandemic. 

The previous incarnation of Flybe was founded in 1979 as Jersey European Airways. It became Jersey European in 1985, British European in 2000 and Flybe in 2002. Flybe once claimed to be Europe’s biggest regional airline and carried around eight million passengers a year from more than 80 airports.

The new Flybe has not yet announced any routes, but is reportedly in talks with airports over slots. It is thought that its network of routes will initially be much smaller than its predecessor's network. Its Chairman, Kevin Hatton, said that Mr Pflieger would “lead our new airline as it gets ready to start operations and serve key regions in the UK and EU".

It is not yet known if the new Flybe will fly to and from Guernsey or Jersey. 

flybe.jpg

Pictured: The previous Flybe collapsed in March 2020.

The airline registered its first aircraft in January. It began a recruitment drive for training staff in September. A freshly-painted Bombardier Dash 8-Q400 sporting Flybe livery was recently photographed at Maastricht Airport in the Netherlands. 

Mr Pflieger has held senior roles at Delta Air Lines, Song, Virgin America and Silver Airways and was most recently CEO of Ravn Air Group, the largest regional airline in Alaska. He also led the turnaround of national carrier Fiji Airways. 

The Flybe brand, its intellectual property and some assets, including spare parts, were bought from administrators by a company called Thyme Opco, which is backed by Cyrus Capital. The sale was completed in April when Thyme Opco renamed itself as Flybe Limited.

The new company suffered a setback in June when it lost the former Flybe's lucrative slots at Heathrow after the carrier’s old operating licence was revoked.

It has also been reported that EY Parthenon, joint administrators of the former airline, have said that up to £650m is being claimed by more than 900 unsecured creditors and it could approach the new owner for some of this money.

“I am extremely excited to be leading such a great new team," said Mr Pflieger.

“The last 12 months have been intensely busy for all of us here, but it has been very rewarding to know that we are soon going to launch a new, better and stronger company that will build upon a respected and well-known brand, create valuable industry jobs and once again play a critical role in connecting regions and communities across the UK. 

“Given that important task, our team and I recognise we have a responsibility to create and grow a great company that delivers for our customers, our employees and the communities that we plan to serve.”

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