Not by Geoff Percival
Ryanair has named as a potentially significant beneficiary – although he is an unlikely buyer – of the expected value of the British regional airline Flybe.
UK media reports have suggested that Flybe is trying to sell or merge with a competitor, although the airline has yet to confirm this. His shares rocked almost 30% on the news.
Recently, the regional route operator that produces a profit notice loss, noting fuel costs, demand weakening and currency wires as a major headquarters.
Stobart Air – which operates the Aer Lingus Regional network and has recently landed the contract to run UK Airways UK routes, through the last BA Cityflyer brand – recently linked to moving to Flybe. A previous approach by Stobart was rejected by Flybe in March.
Flybe is likely to be looking for a buyer of trade, according to a goodbody's flight analyst Mark Simpson. He said that it would be unlikely to attract a famous player as a complete buyer, but more carriers like Ryanair, British Airways and EasyJet will probably be interested in profitable individual parts of the Flybe business that could be disposed of by the buyer in the end.
Ryanair did not respond to requests for comments on the matter. However, Mr Simpson said the airline would face fewer obstacles that were related to competition than EasyJet or British Airways if they were all looking for parts of Flybe if carving was getting worse.
According to Mr Simpson, likely to be a special attraction for Ryanair, would be the Flybe landing slots in Manchester, Birmingham, Edinburgh and Schiphol airports. Flybe has a third of slots in Birmingham, 19% of those in Manchester, 18% in Edinburgh – where Ryanair has been building a damaging presence open to Glasgow – and 2% of land landed in Amsterdam.
Flybe slots in Heathrow are likely to appeal to British Airways, says Mr Simpson.
The European flight sector has already seen some consolidation – with Ryanair buying Lauda and Lufthansa and EasyJet acquiring parts of Air Berlin – but more is expected provided that oil prices continue to put pressure on the costs of fuel for smaller carriers .
Flybe is also considered considering other options such as cost reductions and capacity.
Uncertainty associated with Brexit, a weaker British pound and rising fuel costs for airline directors led to the conclusion that a transfer needed to be safeguarded to report its future.