MIAMI – According to Virgin Atlantic (VS) CEO Shai Weiss, the long-haul airline is a willing partner to build up the bankrupted Flybe (BE). Just a month ago, BE’s administrators announced that they reached an agreement to return the carrier to the skies.

As a former BE shareholder, Weiss said that VS would welcome “the opportunity for BE to resurrect itself again.” In 2013, VS started the Virgin Atlantic Little Red business to offer regional services. However, two years later, it ceased its operations due to low passenger demand.

Afterward, VS decided to launch a codesharing agreement with BE to serve UK regions. Thus, it makes sense that Weiss would want a joint-venture back with BE. Last year, VS extended the partnership with the regional carrier. However, VS did not inject more money when BE warned about its entrance into bankruptcy in 2020.

Flybe expects to restart operations in 2021. Photo: Tony Hisgett.

Regional Investment

Today, Weiss revealed that domestic operations remain a priority for VS. On this, he emphasized that these operations all had to do with connectivity into Manchester (MAN) and Heathrow (LHR) airports. As a result, the airline could “feed more” its planes.

Last year, VS bought BE through former consortium Connect Airways. Then, the regional carrier announced it would be rebranded as Virgin Connect in 2020, but the plans dramatically changed.

So far, Weiss has said that VS hopes to hear that there might be “some signs of a resurrection” from BE. According to an Anna.Aero analysis, the exit of BE has left various important and profitable routes unserved. These include the local city of Southampton and others like Bergerac, France and Faro, Portugal approximately worth £7.8m.

Virgin Atlantic G-VNEW Boeing 787-9 arriving at Heathrow. Photo: Daniel Lintott.