The Flybe name is returning to the skies and has chosen Birmingham Airport as the base for its new head office.
The UK regional carrier collapsed into administration in March 2020 shortly before the world was plunged into a global lockdown because of the coronavirus pandemic.
The brand, intellectual property, stock and equipment of the former Exeter-based firm were bought last year for a nominal fee from administrators by global private equity firm Cyrus Capital which was a shareholder in the old business.
The 2021 version of Flybe has now announced it is to have a head office and operations centre at Diamond House next to the airport in Solihull.
It is one of the first new UK airlines to be certified by the Civil Aviation Authority since Brexit and said it planned to serve key regions across the UK and EU, with services launching in early 2022.
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It expects to create 200 new jobs to be based at Birmingham Airport with a further 400 elsewhere in the country over the next three years.
The new carrier recently installed airline turnaround specialist David Pflieger as its new chief executive who brings experience from senior roles with airlines such as Fiji Airways and Delta.
Mr Pflieger said: “We are thrilled to be partnering with Birmingham Airport, the city of Birmingham and the Mayor of West Midlands to make Birmingham Airport the location of our new headquarters and first crew base.
“It was an ideal choice for us due to its great people and highly skilled workforce, its central UK location and the fact that airport is a global travel hub where local and connecting customers have access to over 150 worldwide destinations.
“Today’s announcement marks the culmination of over 12 months of dedicated hard work by all involved and it would not have been possible without the support of the CAA and the UK Government.
“We plan to provide more information in the coming weeks and months about ticket prices, new routes and destinations and other important news. This is an incredibly exciting time for us and we look forward to sharing more updates in the future.”
Prior to its collapse, Flybe was Europe’s largest regional carrier and flew around eight million passengers a year and employed 2,500 staff.
It was owned by Cyrus Capital alongside Virgin Atlantic and Stobart Group.
Following the appointment of EY as administrators, several regional airlines stepped in to pick up some of the lost domestic services from Birmingham Airport.
Birmingham Airport’s chief executive Nick Barton added: “This is fantastic news for our region’s connectivity needs and it will bring with it some great new employment opportunities.
“Dave’s vast experience in managing start-up airlines and turnaround situations, coupled with the recovery of the Midlands’ economy post-covid, means that Flybe’s return to the skies from Birmingham is a shot in the arm for our airport as well as West Midlands businesses and communities.
“We look forward to working with Dave and his team in preparation for next spring and to launch such a well-known brand here in Birmingham.”
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West Midlands Mayor Andy Street said: “It really is such brilliant news that Flybe is coming back as a commercial airline and even better that it has chosen Birmingham to house its new headquarters.
“Not only does this mean better domestic and international connectivity for our region as well as local jobs and opportunities being created here but it’s yet another show of faith in the West Midlands with businesses choosing to commit to our region as we recover from the pandemic.
“Flybe’s choice highlights the strength of the aerospace sector in the West Midlands and the talent pool available and I wish Dave and his team all the very best ahead of their official launch early next year.”