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And the new Flybe brand will be ….

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Flybe has just announced its new brand, following its takeover by a Virgin Atlantic and Stobart Air consortium.

And it is ….

Virgin Connect.

This was my guess, and indeed much of the industry (the new holding company is called Connect Airways, after all).  What I didn’t know is that there was a Russian mobile operator using this brand so it took a lot work to get hold of it!

I am the only media representative at the Flybe leadership conference in Exeter today where the new brand was announced. 

I am not allowed to report much of what is being discussed, for obvious reasons, but the new CEO Mark Anderson, who comes from Virgin Atlantic, has a sound plan for driving the company forward – and it is certainly not ‘pie in the sky’.  There will also be a new loyalty scheme which will integrate with Virgin Flying Club, although the details of that have not yet been announced.

You will not see the new brand in action for a while.  The new owners, sensibly, want to ensure that the business is fully on the right track.

When people see the Virgin brand they come with expectations and Flybe knows that it is not yet ready to meet them – but it should be soon.  We are talking about punctuality (already much improved), aircraft cleanliness, clearer baggage rules, a loyalty programme etc, albeit it all within the confines of what can be done on a 78-seat Dash 8.

When the roll out starts, the last place you will see the new brand is on the outside of an aircraft.  Painting aircraft takes time and reduces capacity, so you will see a new website, new signage etc before you see a red aircraft.  Change is a coming though ….

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Comments (102)

This article is closed to new comments. Feel free to ask your question in the HfP forums.

  • Yawn says:

    I wonder what this will mean for their already much reduced Cardiff operation. The only connecting that offers is with Aer Lingus flights to the US in Dublin. That can’t be long for the world then. 🙁

    • LewisB says:

      Loganair have already taken the Glasgow route. Flybe have increased flights to Edinburgh and Paris from Cardiff for the Winter however. I think the current routes are safe. Real question is if Eastern Airways will go it’s separate ways with Virgin Connect?

  • John says:

    Nothing new.

    I mentioned the name on one of the conversations months ago haha

    I spotted it on the trademark site.

  • Karen says:

    Flybe have axed both daily morning flights from East Mids to Belfast, now Mondays only. This makes it impossible for daily business travel. Inexplicable to me as the planes were always full.

    • memesweeper says:

      I’m unhappy about the loss of LCY to BHD too. I suspect they are culling routes, as Rob suggested, in an effort to improve punctuality, and then improve from there.

      They are also handing back planes that are leased, so again logically some routes must go.

      Overall though the dash-8 just doesn’t meet passenger expectations. Virgin’s magic brand isn’t going to fix that quickly.

      • Paul says:

        When is the lcy-BHD going – I never saw that announced?

        • memesweeper says:

          I thought it was announced shortly after the Virgin rescue. But there are still flights in the schedule in early 2020 so hopefully I’m wrong (or there was a change of heart)

  • Shoestring says:

    O/T Sky News don’t fill the ad breaks with ads out here in Europe – you get some ads but also filler pieces/ snips of ‘international’ news interest.

    So twice an hour I’m getting the HfP 5 second analysis of Frequent Flyer programs, it’s unrelenting – about 30 edited seconds, ending up with Mr Cheerful advocating squeezing FF-ers until the pips squeak

    • Rob says:

      Oh no! Sorry about that 🙂

    • Lady London says:

      We are already being squeezed and the pips have squoke.

      APD from the UK is the highest in the world. The government used “green” reasons to make the charges. They lied, because the huge APD already charged to fliers, has not been ringfenced for “green” purposes but has been gobbled up in general government spend. And now someone in government is rejoicing because they’ve managed to get The Guardian stoking up class feeling against frequent flyers on a slow news day. Better than Brexit, i suppose.

      • Doug M says:

        I know, really shocking, politicians would lie, even by inference. Did they ever promise that APD would be used for green projects? Again, I’m unaware of any taxes that are single purpose based on how they’re raised. Can you give an example?

        • Shoestring says:

          Actually when APD was introduced (1993/4), the politicians were quite honest about it being predominantly a revenue-raising exercise see the pdf

          It was only later, maybe 2005 or so, that they (politicians) started post-rationalising about it being a method of slowing down the growth in passenger numbers and a possible pressure on airlines to focus on reducing emissions (more efficient aircraft) – looks like it was partly in response to lobbying by Greenpeace amongst others.

  • WhiteBeiefsMan says:

    Anyone remember Virgin CrossCountry Trains? I rest my case…..

    • Andrew says:

      Indeed… And there a lot of people who still think it’s run by Virgin.

      It was an amazing change from the grotty old loco hauled stock and 2 car trains. I was living in Oxford and commuting weekly to Manchester, York & Newcastle for the year before the change. My company was paying for First Class tickets and I got a full refund on ticket for at least 2/3rds of the journeys. I made almost £3,000 selling the warrants on at 80% of face value to commuters.

      Then the Voyagers came, and almost every train ran on time.

  • Shoestring says:

    O/T the £15 bonus on Post Office travel card (prepaid Mastercard) is back again, nice easy profit. You get it in your chosen foreign currency – the rate used was fine if not the sharpest I’ve seen – minimum load is £50 with free delivery. Check what the ATM charge is, choose a round number over £50 good for ATM witjhdrawal and add on the ATM charge (which was about £1.50 for me). Then you can just withdraw the lot at ATM. We used a couple of cards to pay overseas bills as well, to avoid the ATM charge – and got within a few pence of the full card load, so it really was nearly £15 free. Over 18s only, there was no problem getting multiple cards sent to the same address (though only 1 each).

    • stevenhp1987 says:

      Which website is the £15 bonus on?

    • Anna says:

      Thanks for this – can you load it with Revolut? I think last time I tried to get one of these it refused to accept Curve.

    • Harry T says:

      Presumably if you use an ATM that doesn’t charge for cash withdrawals, then you’re golden?

      • Kev says:

        I think most ATM’s in the UK would charge some sort of fee for withdrawing Sterling from a card that is loaded with foreign currency.

        • Shoestring says:

          I withdrew mine abroad, the ATM bank didn’t charge anything, I’m assuming PO charged £1.50 (as they told me the fee on the website) – I haven’t checked the balance but assume it is zero now

          not nearly as lucrative if you load in (say) EUR then withdraw in £s in UK

          • Harry T says:

            Thanks, I see. I’m off to Dubai next week so I may load a card up and just spend it.

    • Fred says:

      Great! Thanks for this.

      When you say: ‘a round number over £50 good for ATM withdrawal’

      Is £51.50 okay? Presuming that the ATM charge is £1.50 or does it need to be a round number in the foreign currency?

  • Stu_N says:

    If I google “Virgin Connect” it takes me to a few press stories and links to a broadband provider.

    The site, linked from a banner on the Flybe homepage, isn’t on the first three pages of Google’s hits for Virgin Connect.

    Bodes well, doesn’t it?

    • Rhys says:

      It’s an empty website that has existed since yesterday! These things don’t happen overnight.

      • Stu_N says:

        Isn’t that what advertising is for?

        • Rhys says:

          No need to advertise it yet since it is a non-functional website. Only reason it exists is as a placeholder. Not surprising given they haven’t even revealed their logo yet. Hard to advertise without one!

  • Brian mccracken says:

    Much improved… NOT. On Monday night when they cancelled the London city to Belfast & the only option was to fly Tuesday morning at 11am, i do not agree. Lets hope we see that new logo v soon.

    • Rob says:

      Eh? I was in City Airport on Monday night and I thought the Belfast flight went. I was sitting at the gate it was using (23?) working because it was super quiet. There was a guy fighting with the agent over the size of his wheely bag (typical Flybe!). Unless there is a later flight than the 5pm.

    • Lady London says:

      Did you claim your EU261 compensation as well as duty of care for the overnight and meals?
      Would have thought that was a slam dunk.

    • ADS says:

      which comes back to Rob’s point about “albeit it all within the confines of what can be done on a 78-seat Dash 8” which aren’t young !

This article is closed to new comments. Feel free to ask your question in the HfP forums.

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