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TIMELINE-Flybe's rise and fall over four decades

March 5 (Reuters) - British regional airline Flybe collapsed on Thursday after a plunge in travel demand, making the struggling carrier the industry’s first big casualty of the coronavirus outbreak.

Here’s a look at the more than 40-year rise and fall of Europe’s largest independent regional airline:

MARCH 2020

The failure of Europe’s largest independent regional airline that connects all corners of the United Kingdom with major European destinations puts around 2,400 jobs at risk but is also likely to hurt some small airports and regional UK economies.

JANUARY 2020

Airline gets a stay of execution after the British government promises to review taxation of the industry and shareholders pledge more funding.

Shareholder Stobart says it will provide 9 million pounds ($11.6 million) in funding as part of the government-backed bail-out.

JULY 2019

EU antitrust regulators clear the $2.8 million acquisition of Flybe by Connect Airways, a consortium created by Richard Branson’s Virgin Atlantic, Stobart Group and investment adviser Cyrus Capital.

MAY 2019

Company says CEO Christine Ourmières-Widener would step down in July.

JANUARY 2019

Virgin Atlantic teams up with Stobart and Cyrus Capital to buy Flybe in a deal worth one pence per share in cash and a 94% discount to the company’s stock value.

Cyrus’ unit DLP Holdings owns 40% of the joint venture company, while Stobart’s aviation unit and Virgin each have 30%.

NOVEMBER 2018

The airline says it holds talks with potential buyers, as it grapples with higher fuel costs, lower demand and a weak British pound.

FEBRUARY/MARCH 2018

British infrastructure and support services company Stobart considers bidding for the company, but scraps plans after being rebuffed.

2011

Flybe buys Finnish Commuter Airlines (Finncomm) Finland’s largest domestic air carrier, in a newly formed joint venture with Finnair, Finland’s flag carrier.

2010

Airline lists in London raising up to 66 million pounds ($85 million) for Europe's largest regional carrier to buy out rivals and expand its fleet. reut.rs/39o8BFm.

2007

The airline buys the former regional airline business of British Airways BA Connect, becoming Europe’s largest regional carrier.

2002

The company changes name to Flybe as part of a major overhaul amid growing competition from growth in low-cost travel.

2000

The airline, now the UK’s third-largest airline, is renamed British European.

1985

The company moves headquarters to Exeter in southwest England from the island of Jersey.

1983

Walker Steel Group, which also owned Spacegrand Aviation, buys the airline.

1979

Airline launches as Jersey European Airways operating from Jersey.

Source: company website and Reuters

$1 = 0.7746 pounds Compiled by Yadarisa Shabong in Bengaluru; editing by Josephine Mason

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