Jersey passengers could fly on former Flybe routes to link up with transatlantic destinations after talks between the budget airline and Virgin Atlantic got off to a soaring start.
Flybe, who recently announced the sale of the airline, have confirmed that Virgin are one of the parties they are in discussions with – causing shares in the company to ascend by more than 70%.
This news comes after Flybe announced it was putting itself up for sale last week, after saying full-year losses would be £22million due to falling demand, rising fuel prices and the weakening pound.
According to The Times, it is thought that Virgin wants to use Flybe’s domestic routes to get more passengers on their long-haul flights. This comes after Virgin closed its own domestic offering ‘Little Red’ in October 2014.
Pictured: Virgin Atlantic's talks with Flybe have caused the regional airline's shares to soar.
It was hoped that Little Red would act as a feeder airline for the more profitable connecting flights, but Virgin admitted that they just saw an increase in passengers flying on the short, domestic routes.
If sales talks with the airline lift off then passengers on Flybe routes could have access to a whole range of connecting flights to North America, Africa and Asia on routes which Virgin Atlantic currently operate.
However, Flybe have confirmed to various national news sources that they are in conversation with various operators about the sale and it’s speculated that both the Stobart Group, who own Southend Airport, and Easyjet are also interested in acquiring the airline.
Flybe, which is based in Exeter, has already had its Jersey to Humberside route taken over by Loganair.
In a statement about the announcement of airline being up for sale, Blue Islands – who are a Flybe franchise partner – assured passengers that there shouldn’t be any changes to their flying schedule.
A spokesperson said: “While we do not envisage a change to current arrangements, Blue Islands could market its scheduled services independently should it be necessary to do so.
“We continue to enjoy a good relationship with Flybe and will watch with interest the way in which this potential sale evolves."
Group CEO for Ports of Jersey, Doug Bannister, commented: “Ports of Jersey has been advised by Flybe that it is considering various strategic options, and when it is able to inform us of its chosen direction, it will do so. We would expect any sale or merger process to be orderly and performed well that should provide for continuity of its operations.
“Ports of Jersey, together with Visit Jersey, will continue to work with Flybe to support its operations in the Island as we would do in the future should there be a new ownership structure for the airline.”
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