A new consortium led by Virgin Atlantic has entered into an agreement to acquire U.K. regional carrier Flybe for the rock-bottom price of 2.2 million pounds ($2.83 million).
In addition, the consortium, called Connect Airways, has committed to loaning Flybe 20 million pounds ($25.7 million) to support its operations until the deal is finalized and to invest 80 million pounds ($103 million) into the regional carrier upon completion of the acquisition.
Connect Airways is comprised of Virgin Atlantic, New York- and London-based Cyrus Capital and Stobart Aviation, which is a subsidiary of the England-based infrastructure and support services company Stobart Group.
The purchase agreement follows Virgin Atlantic's late November acknowledgment that it was considering a purchase of the regional carrier. Flybe says on its website that it flies to 81 airports in the U.K. and Europe.
In a statement Friday, Flybe CEO Christine Ourmieres-Widener said the carrier's fortunes have plummeted of late amid high fuel prices, currency fluctuations and operational uncertainties caused by Brexit.
The proposed acquisition would result in a major broadening of Virgin Atlantic by connecting its worldwide longhaul network to Flybe's extensive European regional network.
Flybe is to be rebranded as Virgin Atlantic "in due course," Connect Airways said.