Virgin Atlantic Acquires FlyBe, Will Nearly Triple Fleet Size
This post contains references to products from one or more of our advertisers. We may receive compensation when you click on links to those products. Terms apply to the offers listed on this page. For an explanation of our Advertising Policy, visit this page.
Virgin Atlantic is coming to the rescue of a large regional airline in the UK with plans to build out its regional fleet and route network.
Virgin has partnered with Stobart Group and Cyrus to purchase Flybe for £2.2 million in a cut price deal. The three companies will form a joint venture, Connect Airways, to manage the new airline. Flybe’s stock dropped by 90% today after Flybe recommended shareholders take the £2.2 million deal — a far cry from the £300 million the airline was valued at less than five years ago
The Exeter-based carrier has faced financial troubles for the last few years after a failed takeover of another airline, rising fuel prices and Brexit uncertainty. The airline put itself up for sale in November after things became more dire.
Flybe is a regional airline that has a sizable fleet of 78 aircraft including turbprop ATRs and Bombardier Dash 8s in addition to a handful of Embraer E-Jets.
All Flybe aircraft will fly under the Virgin brand and be repainted in the airline’s signature red and white colors — the acquisition will nearly triple the size of Virgin Atlantic’s fleet, which only consists of 47 widebody Airbus and Boeing aircraft.
Flybe carries around 8 million passengers a year and flies to destinations around the UK, Ireland and continental Europe. Virgin primarily flies to long-haul destinations from its London and Manchester hubs, so the acquisition of Flybe will help it build out a network of regional flights and could provide connecting traffic to its long-haul operations.
This is good news for points and miles collectors, as it’s all but certain that passengers will be able to earn and redeem Virgin Atlantic miles and enjoy elite status benefits on flights formerly operated by Flybe aircraft. Virgin miles are currently valued at 1.5 cents apiece by TPG and the program has some great sweet spots with partners like ANA and Delta.
Virgin Atlantic, which is still part owned by its billionaire founder Richard Branson, attempted to enter the regional market in 2013 with the airline Virgin Atlantic Little Red, however its run was short lived and the airline shuttered in 2015.
Virgin Atlantic is quickly growing. Last May, Air France-KLM and Delta signed an agreement with Virgin to strengthen a joint venture and help create an even larger network for the airlines that was already quite massive. The Stobart Group, which will also take an ownership stake in Flybe, owns regional Irish airline Stobart Air and has said it wants to increase flights out of the two airports it owns, including London’s Southend (SEN).
Featured image by Nicolas Economou/NurPhoto via Getty Images.
Welcome to The Points Guy!
Earn 90,000 bonus miles and 10,000 Medallion® Qualification Miles (MQMs) after you spend $3,000 in purchases on your new card in the first three months of card membership. Offer ends 11/10/2021.
With Status Boost™, earn 10,000 Medallion Qualification Miles (MQMs) after you spend $25,000 in purchases on your Card in a calendar year, up to two times per year getting you closer to Medallion Status. Earn 3X Miles on Delta purchases and purchases made directly with hotels, 2X Miles at restaurants and at U.S. supermarkets and earn 1X Mile on all other eligible purchases. Terms Apply.
- Limited Time Offer: Earn 90,000 Bonus Miles and 10,000 Medallion® Qualification Miles (MQMs) after you spend $3,000 in purchases on your new Card in your first 3 months. Offer expires 11/10/2021.
- Earn up to 20,000 Medallion® Qualification Miles (MQMs) with Status Boost® per year. After you spend $25,000 in purchases on your Card in a calendar year, you can earn 10,000 MQMs two times per year, getting you closer to Medallion® Status. MQMs are used to determine Medallion® Status and are different than miles you earn toward flights.
- Earn 3X Miles on Delta purchases and purchases made directly with hotels.
- Earn 2X Miles at restaurants worldwide, including takeout and delivery and at U.S. supermarkets.
- Earn 1X Miles on all other eligible purchases.
- Receive a Domestic Main Cabin round-trip companion certificate each year upon renewal of your Card. *Payment of the government imposed taxes and fees of no more than $75 for roundtrip domestic flights (for itineraries with up to four flight segments) is required. Baggage charges and other restrictions apply. See terms and conditions for details.
- Enjoy your first checked bag free on Delta flights.
- Fee Credit for Global Entry or TSA Pre✓®.
- Enjoy an exclusive rate of $39 per person per visit to enter the Delta Sky Club® for you and up to two guests when traveling on a Delta flight.
- No Foreign Transaction Fees.
- $250 Annual Fee.
- Terms Apply.
- See Rates & Fees