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The following airlines also operate regional flights across the UK.

Connect Airways has ceased operations

Connect Airways ceased in 2020.

About Connect Airways

Connect Airways was a British consortium formed in December 2018. The consortium was founded by Virgin Atlantic (which owns 30%), Stobart Air (which owns 30%) and Cyrus Capital Partners (which owns the remaining 40%).

The Connect Airways consortium was set up by Virgin Atlantic in February 2019, to acquire the British regional airline Flybe. Flybe, Britain’s biggest domestic airline, had put itself up for sale in November 2018, following a profit warning the previous month.

As part of this acquisition, the Connect Airways consortium rebranded to Flybe to operate as a new Virgin brand; Stobart Air also operated under this new Virgin brand. Although set to subsequently operate under this new brand, both Connect Airways and Stobart Air retained their own Air Operator Certificates. The purchase of the operating assets of the FlyGroup was successfully completed on February 21, 2019. But in March 2020, the consortium was unable to provide further financial support, resulting in Flybe entering administration and ceasing all operations.

Unfortunately, on the 10th of March 2020, Connect Airways also entered administration.


Virgin has announced that the newly branded airline will offer improved connectivity between UK regional airports and Virgin Atlantic’s extensive long-haul network, with a focus on at London Heathrow and Manchester Airport.

More information will be announced by Virgin and the consortium at a later date.

Baggage Allowance

Connect Airways' baggage allowance varied depending on the fare type and the destination to which you were flying to and from. Connect Airways' standard baggage allowance for checked baggage was up to 23 KG (50 pounds) per passenger. However, it's important to note that certain ticket types may have different baggage allowances. Excess baggage fees may apply for items exceeding the allowed weight and dimensions.

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Hub Airport

Exeter Airport

Exeter Airport (EXT) was the focus city for Connect Airways until it ceased its operations. Today the airport is a focus city for TUI Airways. Other airlines that fly to and from this airport include Aer Lingus, Ryanair, Loganair and more.

Exeter Airport is an international airport situated in Clyst Honiton in East Devon. Prior to Flybe's collapse in 2020, the airline accounted for more than 80% of the airport's passenger traffic. The number of passengers handled by the airport dropped to 148,000 in 2020 due to the coronavirus pandemic.


Connect Airways' fleet consisted of regional aircraft suitable for short-haul flights. Flybe's fleet composition included aircraft models such as the Bombardier Dash 8 Q400, Embraer E175, and ATR 72.

Frequently asked questions

Who owned Connect Airways?

Connect Airways was owned by a consortium consisting of three entities: Virgin Atlantic, Stobart Group, and Cyrus Capital Partners. Virgin Atlantic owned 30%, Stobart Air owned 30% and Cyprus Capital Partners owned the remaining 40%.

Where did Connect Airways fly to?

Connect Airways, through its subsidiary Flybe, operate flights to a number of domestic and international destinations. Flybe mainly operated flights within the United Kingdom and Europe. Some of the most popular destinations included France, Germany, Ireland, Spain, Portugal, the Netherlands, Switzerland, and more.

When did Connect Airways cease?

Connect Airways ceased operations on the 10th of March in 2020. This occurred shortly after Flybe entered administration in March 2020. Connect Airways ceased its operations due to the financial challenges of the Covid-19 pandemic.