LONDON – In preparation for the relaunch of Flybe under the Virgin brand, Connect Airways has appointed Mark Anderson as CEO.  

Currently, he is Executive Vice President – Customer at Virgin Atlantic, having served as Senior Vice President and Managing Director of Virgin Holidays previously.  

Talking about his new role, Mark Anderson, CEO of Connect Airways said: “It’s a real privilege and honour for me to take on the leadership of Connect Airways, at this exciting time.”

“We are focused on growing the airline while expanding our franchise business in Dublin, redefining what customers can expect from regional flying in the UK.”

“We have all the building blocks in place: Flybe’s heritage and expertise in running Europe’s largest regional airline; the operational excellence and strength of Stobart Air; and in the near future, the magic of the Virgin brand. I can’t wait to get started with the team.”

The deal for Connect Airways was finalised on 21st February 2019.  

Pending the clearance from the European Commission under the EU Merger Regulation, the merger will be complete and Flybe will officially fall under the control of Connect Airways.

Connect Airways is under the control of three companies, Cyrus Capital Partners, with 40%, Stobart Group and Virgin Atlantic, having a 30% stake each, and Flybe will be relaunched under the Virgin brand.

Announcing the appointment, Lucien Farrell, Chairman of Connect Airways said: “On behalf of the entire Connect Airways Board, I’m delighted to appoint Mark as CEO of Connect Airways.”

“Mark has a proven record of leadership, strategy and commercial delivery.”

“I look forward to working closely with him and supporting the Connect Airways team as they set out to continue growing the business while transforming the experience customers can expect from regional flying in the UK.”

Flybe will be merged into the Virgin AOC, so the longer term the whole Flybe name will be gone.

Alongside Flybe, Connect Airways also brings in Stobart Air’s entire operation, part of which is currently supplying BA CityFlyer with additional aircraft, something which will be interesting to see the progress of, BA CityFlyer being a big competitor of Connet Airways out of London City Airport.

Warwick Brady, CEO of Stobart Group commented: “Connect Airways represents a compelling financial and strategic opportunity.”

“Having worked with Mark for some months I am confident he will build a talented team capable of establishing a well-structured, profitable airline. Under Mark’s leadership, we can develop a customer-centric regional connectivity strategy that incorporates London.”

It will definitely be interesting to see where the direction of the carrier goes next and what is in store in terms of announcements regarding new routes or new aircraft. Only time will tell.