16 October, 2019

Connect to retire FlyBe brand to become Virgin Connect

In 2020 Flybe will become Virgin Connect

One of Europes largest regional airlines will disappear next year,  the consortium that rescued the ailing FlyBe confirmed it will change the name to.......Virgin Connect.

As Flybe, the airline has been connecting passengers across the UK and Europe for 40 years and despite its financial trials and tribulations, has unusually held up a strong brand recognition and consumer respect. Yet, Connect Airways, the trading name of the holding company which is owned by Cyrus Capital Partners 40%, by Stobart Group 30 %, and 30% by Virgin Atlantic Limited, have decided to change the name Virgin Connect!

As part of the extended Virgin family, Virgin Connect will, it has been promised, reflect the innovation and entrepreneurship of Virgin's wider brands. They say they will provide great customer experiences and plan to differentiate the airline in the regional market upon rebranding next year.

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. At its heart, Virgin Connect will be passionately focused on becoming Europe's most loved and successful regional airline. It will offer travel that is simple and convenient with the personal touch. Our customers will naturally expect the same exceptional travel experience as they do with other Virgin-related brands. Whatever their reason for flying, we want our customers to feel loved and know we will always put their needs first in every decision we take. As part of the Virgin family, we now have a tremendously re-energised team. From here on in, we invite our customers, partners and the communities we serve to join us on every step of this exciting journey!”

The unusual and distinctive purple is going, to be replaced by more widely used red and white.  Many see this as a retrograde step in the airline's resurrection, industry experts indicate research shows that the name change will likely reduce business as passengers will identify the carrier as just a connecting service to Virgin's international flights uniquely and not use the airline to connect with other airlines flights.  Others are looking back to recent history of Virgin's other domestic and regional attempts Little Red and Sun and are expecting the same results for Connect.  

There is much speculation that the Stobart Group / Stobart Air is trying to extricate itself from the consortium, a move denied by  Warwick Brady, CEO of Stobart Group who recently said, "I am particularly encouraged by the quality of airline partners that we are now working with and the opportunity that brings to deliver future sustainable operating profits."

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