Flybe to Virgin Connect
The British regional airline with about 75 aircraft (a combination of turboprops and jets), has been in just a tad of financial trouble lately (Brexit, bad IT upgrades etc), even though it is the largest regional airline in Europe.
Earlier this year (2019), the airline was bought by Connect Airways – a consortium backed by Stobart Aviation and Virgin Atlantic with a 30% share and the intention of the airline becoming a regional operator under the Virgin brand.
Virgin has made a previous attempt at a regional operation for a couple of years starting in 2013. The experiment with a fleet of four A320’s was not successful and was wrapped up in 2015.
Rebrand to ‘Virgin Connect’
Expect to see a rebrand to Virgin livery in 2020. I hope Virgin Connect goes down a branding road similar to Virgin Australia where purple is a secondary brand colour for lounges, aircraft interiors and uniforms. It would be a sensible branding given the established strength of the Flybe purple.
The promo images so far are just red, red, red, and that’s what the announcement promises too.
We’ll be saying goodbye to purple and hello to red. We’ll also be offering our customers an enhanced customer experience, whilst continuing to connect the regions & our passengers to what matters most.Virgin Connect landing page
I have caught Flybe planes a couple of times, travelling to Newquay from London, or to Kirkwall in the Orkney Islands. Other than some officiousness around luggage, I’ve found them a pleasant airline to travel on, even though I’m not a turboprop fan.
Expect some schedule changes, and maybe some route network adjustments so that they integrate more seamlessly with the Virgin Atlantic schedule and route map.