The headline grabbing element of the confirmation of Flybe’s take-over of British Airway’s regional Connect operation is the fact that 900 BA flights have been cancelled as a result.

Those passengers affected will be offered alternative flights with either BA or Flybe, or a full refund.

The bigger story is the fact that the deal creates Europe’s largest regional airline operation. Flybe has an excellent track record in providing efficient, affordable services on domestic and European routes and in the long-term the take-over is likely to be good news for air travellers – less so for the environment, perhaps.

BA has singularly failed to make its Connect service work in recent years, or match the success of the likes of Flybe, BMIBaby and other low-cost regional operators.

The deal leaves BA free to concentrate on its other operations and allows Flybe to offer an expanded network and timetable.

Although some regard Exeter-based Flybe’s move for Connect risky, there is little doubt that the airline has the track record and expertise to make it work and firmly establish itself as a big player in the European market.

While the Connect deal is good news for BA, elsewhere the world’s favourite airline is not enjoying such good fortune.

Together with Virgin, BA has criticised the so-called open-sky agreement reached by the EU and the US government. The two UK-based airlines claim the deal is a missed opportunity and is weighted in favour of US operators.

Things must be bad if the agreement manages to unite two old sparring partners like BA and Virgin.


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