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Flybe to become Virgin Connect

The new owner of Flybe has announced the airline will be renamed Virgin Connect in 2020 following its acquisition, according to BBT (Buying Business Travel).

Connect Airways, a consortium of investors consisting of Virgin Atlantic, Stobart Group and Cyrus Capital, bought Flybe earlier this year for £2.8 million.

The company said Flybe’s recognisable purple planes will be repainted red as the airline transitions to its new branding.

Forward bookings will not be affected by the change, according to Connect Airways.

Announcing the new name, Connect Airways CEO Mark Anderson said: “We are hugely excited by this milestone in our airline’s 40-year history. We will remain true to our heritage and reason for being, which is offering essential regional connectivity to local communities.”

Anderson said Virgin Connect would work to become “Europe’s most loved and successful regional airline”. He added the carrier would incorporate the experience customers “naturally expect” from other Virgin-related brands.

Passengers can continue to book flights through the Flybe website for the time being.

The news comes after Flybe announced it would cease flights from Doncaster Sheffield airport by summer 2020. Following its acquisition, the carrier took the decision to drop Embraer jets from its fleet in favour of its smaller Bombardier Q400s, which went along with the airline closing its bases at Doncaster and Cardiff.