Flybe’s acquisition by Connect Airways – a consortium including Virgin Atlantic and the owner of Southend Airport – has been granted court approval.

Flybe shareholders approved the regional airline group’s purchase by a consortium including Virgin Atlantic and the owner of Southend Airport at two meetings on Monday (March 4).

A majority of Flybe shareholders voted in favour of the offer of one pence per share or £2.2 million by Connect Airways, a holding company comprising Virgin Atlantic, Southend Airport owner Stobart Group and US hedge fund Cyrus Capital.

The Connect Airways consortium already owns the airline Flybe, having paid £2.8 million for the carrier in a deal completed on February 22.

In a London Stock Exchange statement today (March 8), the regional airline group said that a copy of the court order is expected to be delivered the Registrar of Companies on Monday March 11 “at which time the scheme will become effective”.

Flybe will be rebranded as Virgin Atlantic but continue to operate independently.

Virgin Atlantic will own 30% of Connect Airways, Stobart Group 30% and Cyrus Capital 40%.

They promise “enhanced connectivity to the UK regions and Ireland under the Virgin Atlantic brand”, “improved connectivity at Manchester and London Heathrow” and “an enhanced presence at Manchester [and] Heathrow . . . with the potential to grow in London Southend Airport”.

The consortium intends to “adjust Flybe’s network to improve connectivity with Virgin Atlantic’s long-haul network, particularly at Heathrow and Manchester”.

More: Comment: Flybe – a good deal?

Shareholders approve Flybe deal