Regional airline Flybe has confirmed it will seek a stock market flotation, with an approximate value of £60 million.
The airline – which brands itself as the largest regional carrier in Europe – specialises in short-hop flights around the UK lasting less than an hour.
A flotation had been expected for some time.
Air France has confirmed it will purchase 15 per cent of the stock once offered. The carriers already have a route share arrangement on a number of departures.
Commenting on the announcement, Jim French, Flybe’s chief executive said: “We are delighted to bring Flybe to the market.
“The company has come a long way in a short time, from its origins as a provincial carrier to being one of Europe’s leading regional airlines.
“A listing will assist Flybe in achieving the next stage in its exciting strategy for growth.”
The airline started out in 1979 as Jersey European Airways, eventually renaming itself Flybe in 2002.
It subsequently acquired British Airways’ UK internal flights subsidiary - BA Connect - in 2007.
Funds raised through a public offering will be used to roll out its regional business model across the rest of Europe.
As of September 30th Flybe employed 2,931 people, operated 215 routes from 73 airports across Europe.
British Airways – which yesterday confirmed it would leave the London Stock Exchange following its merger with Iberia – is also likely to participate in the public offering.
Commenting on the announcement, Willie Walsh, BA’s chief executive said: “We are delighted to participate in the Flybe IPO.
“Since our divestment of BA Connect to Flybe in March 2007, we have been impressed with the achievements of Flybe and its management team.
“We are committed to supporting Flybe in its listing and capital raising, and wish Jim and the team every success as a public company.”