UK regional Virgin Connect, formerly known as Flybe, plans to ultimately consider larger aircraft once things have settled under its new ownership.

Exeter-based Flybe was bought earlier this year by Connect Airways, an acquisition vehicle made up of Cyrus Capital (40%), fellow UK regional airline Stobart Group (30%) and long-haul specialist Virgin Atlantic (30%).

Flybe has a fleet of 70-plus aircraft, comprising 54 De Havilland Dash 8-400s, five ATR 72s, six Embraer E195s and 11 E175s.

Speaking at Airlines 2050 in London on Oct. 18, Virgin Connect CEO Mark Anderson said: “We will look at developing the fleet.”

When asked whether this could involve larger aircraft, he replied: “For sure.”

He declined to give further specifics but added: “Our partnership with Virgin [Atlantic], and perhaps others in future, definitely give us the opportunity to look at other aircraft in future. We’re not about to make any crazy decisions and go off and buy a whole fleet of jets, but we’re not going to stay static and keep a fleet of Q400s forever and a day.”

In the shorter term, Anderson said his number one priority is focusing on the existing business, following the ownership change.

Victoria Moores