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Friday 24 March 2017

Ex-CityJet chief Ourmieres-Widener named new Flybe boss

Christine Ourmieres-Widener, who has been named as Flybe's new chief executive after the regional airline's former boss stepped down two months ago. Photo: PA
Christine Ourmieres-Widener, who has been named as Flybe's new chief executive after the regional airline's former boss stepped down two months ago. Photo: PA
John Mulligan

John Mulligan

Former CityJet boss Christine Ourmieres-Widener has been named as the new ceo of UK regional carrier Flybe.

The surprise move sees her succeed former EasyJet executive Saad Hammad, who quit the role in October. Ms Ourmieres-Widener will join Flybe on January 16.

An Air France veteran, Ms Ourmieres-Widener ran Dublin-based CityJet from 2010 until 2015, leaving soon after its acquisition by Germany's Intro Aviation in 2014.

It had been owned by Air France-KLM. She held a 7.5pc stake in CityJet following its sale to Intro. That company sold CityJet back to founder Pat Byrne and investors this year.

Since leaving CityJet, Ms Ourmieres-Widener has been chief global sales officer for American Express Global Business Travel.

She said that Flybe was "already in a strong position" and she believes it can "deliver significantly more over the coming years".

While in charge at CityJet, the airline racked up losses - but strategy for the carrier was at the time dictated by Air France-KLM.

Following her appointment at Flybe, current executive chairman Simon Laffin will resume a role as non-executive chairman.

Flybe has been operating in a challenging environment. Its revenue in the first-half of its financial year rose 12.7pc to £383m (€454.8m), but its adjusted pre-tax profit slumped 25pc to £15.9m.

Mr Laffin said there was excess seat capacity in the European short-haul market, coupled with a weaker pound and business and consumer uncertainty.

It said yesterday that it will begin flying from London Heathrow next year to Aberdeen and Edinburgh.

It's using slots at Heathrow that were relinquished by IAG following its acquisition of BMI. The slots were relinquished as part of an EC competition condition. Virgin previously used the slots to fly to Manchester and Scotland.

Those services were operated on a wet-lease basis for Virgin by Aer Lingus.

A handful of Flybe routes are currently operated by Dublin-based Stobart Air, part of the Stobart Group.

Stobart Air also operates the Aer Lingus Regional service.

Earlier this month, Stobart announced that Stobart Air would fly up to 18 routes on behalf of Flybe from London Southend Airport, which is owned by the group.

Irish Independent

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