Flybe will be rebranded Virgin Connect next year, new owner Connect Airways has announced.
It follows Connect’s acquisition of the struggling regional carrier last year.
The Connect consortium is led by Virgin Atlantic with a 30% stake, with Stobart Group also holding a 30% stake and Cyrus Capital Partners 40%.
Connect pledged to rebrand Flybe under the Virgin banner from the outset, and revealed the Virgin Connect moniker on Tuesday (15 October).
It will do away with Flybe’s long-standing purple livery and will embrace Virgin’s trademark red branding.
Virgin intends to use Connect as a regional feeder airline, operating from 12 UK bases, for its long-haul operations, operating out of Heathrow, Gatwick, Manchester, Glasgow and Belfast International.
Connect says it will be offering customers “an enhanced experience” while maintaining its regional heritage.
“As Flybe, we have been connecting passengers across the UK and Europe for 40 years, and as we embark on an ambitious transformation, Virgin Connect will continue our work as Europe’s largest regional airline,” said Connect.
“As part of the extended Virgin family, Virgin Connect will reflect the innovation and entrepreneurship of Virgin’s wider brands, putting our customers first and offering better value.
"Providing great customer experience is at the core of Virgin Connect’s DNA and will be one of the many ways in which we will differentiate ourselves in the regional market upon rebranding next year."
Connect Airways chief executive Mark Anderson added: “We are hugely excited by this milestone in our airline’s 40-year history. We will remain true to our heritage and reason for being, which is offering essential regional connectivity to local communities.
“At its heart, Virgin Connect will be passionately focused on becoming Europe’s most loved and successful regional airline. It will offer travel that is simple and convenient with the personal touch. Our customers will naturally expect the same exceptional travel experience as they do with other Virgin-related brands. Whatever their reason for flying, we want our customers to feel loved and know we will always put their needs first in every decision we take.
“As part of the Virgin family, we now have a tremendously re-energised team. From here on in, we invite our customers, partners and the communities we serve to join us on every step of this exciting journey.”
Connect has stressed existing Flybe bookings will be unaffected by the switchover. Bookings and check in can still be managed from flybe.com.