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Stobart Group, Virgin and Flybe combine to continue flying

Stobart Group, Virgin and Flybe combine to continue flying

Friday 11 January 2019

Stobart Group, Virgin and Flybe combine to continue flying


Three major shareholders are setting up a new aviation group to help bail Flybe out of its financial troubles and run the airline going forwards.

And the Guernsey-registered Stobart Group will be one of those three, alongside Virgin Atlantic and Flybe itself.

The UK regional airline is close to being taken over by this new consortium in a deal that is expected to leave it at a value of £20m.

Virgin Atlantic will be the main shareholder, but Flybe and Stobart Air, a part of the Stobart Group, will be included. The deal's value is expected to be worth significantly less than the company's stock price when it last closed on the Markets. 

Two months ago, Flybe put itself up for sale as it continued to struggle with Brexit uncertainty, rising fuel prices and general difficulties in the aviation sector, but it is still one of the largest and best recognised regional airlines in the UK. 

Under this new deal, Virgin will operate the Flybe's network of flights using both Flybe itself and Stobart Air as carriers. 

Stobart Air, a subsidiary of the Stobart Group, is registered in Guernsey. The company has shareholder meetings in the island and most recently a court case battle between the bosses of the group and its Chief Executive took place in the island. When that court case kicked off Stobart abandoned plans to buy Flybe at the time. 

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Flybe and Blue Islands are currently operating a franchise agreement. Previously, Blue Islands have said they will not be affected by any sale of Flybe, but if this consortium will have any change on that is not yet known. 

As far as what the three groups will be getting from the consortium, Stobart is expected to just contribute assets to the body rather than any money. Virgin Atlantic will get access to all of Flybe's short haul routes as connections for its long-haul flights, as well as access to the valuable slots of Heathrow which are reserved for domestic routes.

Whether the new agreement will affect flights to the Channel Islands is yet to be seen, but while Flybe is now based in Exeter, it is originally a Jersey company. 

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