Virgin Atlantic executive Mark Anderson will lead the overhaul of Flybe after being appointed CEO of Connect Airways, the consortium that took over the UK regional airline.

Connect Airways, a consortium of Virgin Atlantic, UK-based airline operator Stobart Group and funds managed by U.S.-based Cyrus Capital Partners, acquired Flybe in February after the carrier was hit by high fuel costs, currency fluctuations and uncertainty over Brexit, the UK’s protracted effort to withdraw from the European Union. 

The consortium is awaiting merger clearance from the European Commission. 

Flybe CEO Christine Ourmieres-Widener said May 28 that she would step down July 15. On June 12, Connect announced the appointment of Anderson, who was previously Virgin Atlantic’s EVP-customer and before that ran Virgin Holidays.

“As the team prepares to launch under a Virgin brand, Mark’s experience and insights from his time at Virgin Atlantic and Virgin Holidays will be invaluable,” Virgin Atlantic CEO Shai Weiss said.  

The relaunch will improve connectivity by linking airports around the UK to Virgin Atlantic’s long-haul network, particularly at Manchester Airport and London Heathrow, Connect Airways said. 

“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,” Anderson said. “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.”

Helen Massy-Beresford, helen.massy-beresford@aviationweek.co.uk