(Adds analyst comments, details, background)
Dec 20 British regional airline Flybe Group Plc
named Christine Ourmieres-Widener as chief executive,
bringing in the former head of rival CityJet to help it navigate
a tough European airlines market.
The appointment comes two months after the surprise
departure of Saad Hammad as CEO, leaving Flybe rudderless at a
time when European airlines face lower demand due to Brexit
uncertainty, a string of attacks in Europe and depressed
appetite for corporate travel, even as the market has seen some
Flybe, which connects British regional airports to London
and other European cities, cautioned in November that Britain's
vote to leave the European Union could affect the aviation
industry "operationally and commercially" and posed short-term
challenges because of the pound's sharp slide.
Flybe said on Tuesday Ourmieres-Widener, who has spent her
entire career in the aviation and travel industry and was most
recently chief global sales officer at American Express Global
Business Travel, would start as CEO from Jan. 16, 2017.
The airline also announced new routes from Edinburgh and
Aberdeen to Heathrow starting in March 2017, as it looks to
capitalise on slots that become available under the terms of EU
clearance for British Airways parent IAG's acquisition
Liberum analyst Gerald Khoo said in a note he expected Flybe
to pursue additional codeshare agreements with long haul
airlines operating into Heathrow.
Most of the long haul airlines such as Cathay Pacific,
Singapore Airlines, Virgin Atlantic that Flybe has agreed
codeshare deals with at other airports also fly from Heathrow.
"We expect more extensive codeshare agreements, along with
smaller and cheaper aircraft, to offer Flybe's best chance of
delivering a better financial outcome than Virgin Red's failed
services," Khoo said.
(Reporting by Esha Vaish in Bengaluru; Editing by Sunil Nair
and Gopakumar Warrier)