Flybe in talks with Virgin Atlantic for possible sale

Flybe in talks with Virgin Atlantic for possible sale

Working as a feeder airline could be a new dawn for struggling Flybe and one thing Virgin Atlantic is likely to be considering is the potential to explore European connections from Virgins busiest hub, Heathrow thanks to the existing slots.

Virgin Atlantic closed its British domestic airline network Little Red in 2015 after it was "not able to make a positive contribution" to the group and following a review of its network that had put emphasis on its transatlantic routes.

Virgin Atlantic is being advised by Rothschild & Co, while Evercore is acting as financial adviser to Flybe and Numis and Liberum as broker to Flybe.

Although an offer from Virgin Atlantic for Flybe would not be large in monetary terms, it would be a significant combination in a British aviation sector which is viewed as requiring further consolidation.

Mr Charlton said that Virgin Atlantic may also benefit from certain regional routes flown by Flybe which would deliver passengers into London for Virgin Atlantic's long-haul operations based in London's Heathrow and Gatwick airports.

Flybe has the biggest operation of any airline at Birmingham Airport
Flybe has the biggest operation of any airline at Birmingham Airport

A takeover of Flybe by Virgin Atlantic could be complicated by competition from a rival bidder such as Stobart Group as well as the protracted state of negotiations about Virgin Atlantic's ownership. The hard market conditions led to the collapse of Air Berlin and Monarch Airlines a year ago.

The transaction remains subject to regulatory approvals, which could be affected by a no-deal departure by the United Kingdom from the European Union.

He will be replaced by Shai Weiss, its chief commercial officer.

Flybe said earlier this month that it was exploring a possible sale after reporting that pre-tax profits more than halved in the first half of the year owing to headwinds from higher fuel and currency costs.

Flybe did not immediately respond to a Reuters request for comment.

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