HFP readers in the City may be interested in the formal scheme document for the sale of Flybe to a Virgin Atlantic-led consortium which was published yesterday.
If you can wade through the technical pages, there is some interesting information on the state of the business, such as:
“In the absence of the Acquisition and the funding to be provided by the Connect Lenders, the Flybe Directors considered that neither Flybe nor the Flybe Subsidiaries would be able to continue to trade as going concerns. Even absent the Subsidiary Sale (described further below), were Flybe or the Flybe Subsidiaries to have been placed into administration, the Flybe Directors did not believe that an administrator would have been able to operate the business as a going concern and in such circumstances Flybe Shareholders would have been unlikely to have received any value in respect of their Flybe Shares.”
Note that all bolding in this article is mine and does not appear in the original document.
Sale completion is still expected by the long-stop date of 22nd February.
In terms of day to day operation, these are the key paragraphs:
“Connect Airways intends to focus on three principal areas, in relation to the business of the Flybe Group:
simplifying and focusing on improving the performance of Flybe Limited’s core network whilst recognising the importance of regional connectivity;
adjusting Flybe Limited’s network to improve connectivity with Virgin Atlantic’s long-haul network, particularly at London Heathrow Airport and Manchester Airport, bringing more choice to customers; and
operating the Combined Group as an independent company, and optimising the combined commercial, operational and functional expertise and scale of Virgin Atlantic and the Stobart Group.
Optimising the Network and Improving Connectivity:
Connect Airways plans to optimise Flybe Limited’s network and operations to focus on key routes with the aim of continuing to enhance regional connectivity across the UK and Ireland. Connect Airways also intends to bring benefits for customers through linking an enhanced Flybe regional network with Virgin Atlantic’s long-haul operations particularly at Manchester Airport and London Heathrow Airport.
All flying operations except Stobart Air will operate under a Virgin brand to the extent possible. This will be timed to coincide with a refurbishment programme for Flybe Limited’s fleet to provide a seamless customer experience in keeping with Virgin Atlantic’s heritage.
There will be no change to the brands under which Stobart Air flies today which will continue to be maintained and operated separately.”
Separately it says:
“Leveraging the expertise of Flybe, Stobart Group and Virgin Atlantic
Through the combination of Flybe and Stobart Air, and partnering with Virgin Atlantic, Connect Airways intends to continue as an independent operating carrier with a separate UK AOC under the Virgin Atlantic brand. Stobart Air is intended to continue under a separate Irish Air Operator Certificate with its franchise and aircraft leasing operations as exists today.”
Elsewhere it says:
“The network and route optimisation will likely include a limited reduction in the number of Flybe Limited’s aircraft to right size the fleet for the Combined Group going forward.”
What about Flybe’s branding?
This is where it gets interesting, I think.
It was originally announced that the airline would be rebranded as Virgin Atlantic. I thought this was not incredibly smart, because with the best will in the world it is impossible to bring much of the Virgin ‘sparkle’ to short-haul flights on tiny aircraft.
There is one reference in the document to:
“Connect Airways intends to continue as an independent operating carrier with a separate UK AOC under the Virgin Atlantic brand“
However, elsewhere it says:
“All flying operations except Stobart Air will operate under a Virgin brand to the extent possible. This will be timed to coincide with a refurbishment programme for Flybe Limited’s fleet to provide a seamless customer experience in keeping with Virgin Atlantic’s heritage. There will be no change to the brands under which Stobart Air flies today which will continue to be maintained and operated separately.”
There is one reference to the fact that the Virgin Atlantic brand will be used. However, there is another reference to “a Virgin brand” being used – which logically may not necessarily be Virgin Atlantic. Perhaps Virgin Little Red (see the mock-up branding above from a few years ago) will return. Let’s see.
How to earn Virgin Points from UK credit cards (September 2023)
As a reminder, there are various ways of earning Virgin Points from UK credit cards. Many cards also have generous sign-up bonuses.
You can choose from two official Virgin Atlantic credit cards (apply here, the Reward+ card has a bonus of 15,000 Virgin Points):
SPECIAL OFFER: The sign-up bonus on the Virgin Atlantic Reward+ Mastercard is doubled to 30,000 Virgin Points if you apply by 2nd October. You receive 15,000 Virgin Points with your first purchase and a further 15,000 points if you spend £3,000 within 90 days. Apply here.
You can also earn Virgin Points from various American Express cards – and these have sign-up bonuses too.
American Express Preferred Rewards Gold is FREE for a year and comes with 20,000 Membership Rewards points, which convert into 20,000 Virgin Points.
The Platinum Card from American Express comes with 30,000 Membership Rewards points, which convert into 30,000 Virgin Points.
Small business owners should consider the two American Express Business cards. Points convert at 1:1 into Virgin Points.
(Want to earn more Virgin Points? Click here to see our recent articles on Virgin Atlantic and Flying Club and click here for our home page with the latest news on earning and spending other airline and hotel points.)