Monday 16 September 2019

Virgin Atlantic in talks to buy Flybe – reports

Flybe operates 78 aircraft and employs 2,300 people. Photo: PA
Flybe operates 78 aircraft and employs 2,300 people. Photo: PA
Ellie Donnelly

Ellie Donnelly

Virgin Atlantic has entered talks to by struggling UK regional carrier Flybe.

Flybe, which in Ireland operates flights from Dublin, Cork and Belfast, last week put itself up for sale.

According to reports from Sky News, Virgin Atlantic, which is part-owned by Richard Branson, has opened talks with Flybe advisors, about making an offer for the company.

It is understood that Virgin is interested in Flybe in order to use the airline to provide a feed of passengers into its long-haul routes, as well as give it with access to airline slots at Heathrow Airport that are kept for domestic flights in the UK.

Flybe has a fleet of 78 aircraft, with 51 that are held on operating leases, and 27 that are owned by the company. Last month, it warned that it will make a £12m (€13.7m) loss this year as it takes a £29m (€33.2m) hit from higher fuel costs and currency impacts. The projected loss includes an estimated £29m of adverse year-on-year impact from weaker sterling, fuel and carbon prices.

Flybe’s share price has jumped over 20pc this morning on the reports.

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