Shaky start for new Connect Airways as subsidiary Flybe cancels numerous flights

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Late Tuesday and early Wednesday, U.K. regional carrier Flybe announced the cancelation of approximately five percent of its flights, the majority of which were within the British Isles. It is understood that there is a combination of reasons behind these cancelations including union discussions over potential job losses and or relocations which relate to the carrier’s move away from jets to a more turboprop-based fleet of aircraft as part of its long-term cost-cutting measures. In addition, Flybe blamed an industry-wide shortage of pilots for the cancelations, as well as its own pilots taking holidays, a situation that heavily affected low-cost carrier Ryanair last year.

Flybe was put up for sale last year after posting an approximate £20 million loss for the financial year ending March 2017. The company was bought by Connect Airways, a consortium which includes Virgin Atlantic and Stobart Aviation which each hold a 30 percent stake, and Cyrus Capital Partners who are the majority shareholder with a 40 percent stake. The sale to Connect Airways was concluded on February 21 this year for an agreed sum of £2.8 million in cash, an immediate release of £10 million plus a further £10 million to be made available, plus the provision of an £80 million bridging loan, to enable flight operations to continue. (£1.00 = US$1.32 at time of publication).

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