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Unite demand assurance for Flybe staff after Virgin and Stobart buy the airline for £2.2m

THE Unite union sought workplace security for Flybe workers today after Virgin Atlantic and Stobart Group announced they had bought the airline in a £2.2 million deal.

In co-operation with Cyrus Capital Partners, the two companies bought all of Flybe’s shares for 1p — a significant fall on their Thursday closing price of 16.38p.

Now the deal has been finalised, the airline will now be combined with Stobart Air to create a new airline group.

The new group, Connect Airways, will be joint-owned between Cyrus, which will take 40 per cent of the company’s shares, while Virgin and Stobart will each have 30 per cent.

Flybe chief executive Christine Ourmieres-Widener said the firm had been forced to seek a buyer due to higher fuel costs, currency fluctuations and Brexit uncertainty.

The three companies have committed to make a £20m bridge available to support Flybe’s current operations, while an additional £80m will be provided to the combined group.

Unite, which represents cabin crew on Flybe’s flights, welcomed the news.

However, union representatives are demanding assurances from the company’s new owners about job security and working conditions.

Unite regional officer Peter Coulson said: “We are pleased that the period of uncertainty has come to an end with this announcement. That uncertainly had been caused by higher fuel costs, currency fluctuations and Brexit uncertainty.

“However, we will be meeting with the company as matter of urgency to fully understand the future business plan and seek assurances on jobs, and terms and conditions going forward.

“We are seeking a constructive dialogue to ensure a prosperous and secure future for Flybe and our members.”

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