Europe’s Largest Regional Airline Flybe on Sale

Issue: 02-2019

Flybe, Europe’s largest regional carrier which flies 53 per cent of all fights within mainland Britain excluding London and also the largest scheduled airline by air traffic movements at 13 airports in the United Kingdom, recently announced its sale to a consortium. This in part is driven by the uncertainty emanating from Brexit and also other structural issues.

The deal involves a consortium called Connect Airways which will become the new owner of Flybe. The deal is structured as an all cash offer making it very attractive. The combined group will operate independently and the ownership will be 40 per cent by Cyrus Capital Partners, 30 per cent by Stobart Aviation and 30 per cent by Virgin Atlantic. It is likely that Cyrus Capital Partners at some point in the future want an exit whereby Stobart or Virgin will likely be given the opportunity to increase the shareholding. An excerpt from Flybe group PLCs interim management report states, “Brexit remains a major uncertainty for the sector and the wider economy.”.