Struggling British airline Flybe in talks with potential buyers
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British regional airline Flybe Group Plc said on Wednesday it was in talks with potential buyers, as it grapples with higher fuel costs, lower demand and a weak British pound, sending its shares up as much as 44 percent in early trading.

Airlines have been looking to consolidate in many markets as a result of rising running costs, largely higher fuel prices, and increased competition from budget carriers. Icelandair agreed to buy rival WOW air last week.

Nasdaq reports that Flybe, which has 78 aircraft in its fleet, said it was in talks with a number of potential buyers, without giving details.

Shares in the company, which also posted a jump in first-half profit as cost cutting measures started to pay off, were up 30 percent at 15.175 pence at 0815 GMT, valuing the business at around 33 million pounds ($43 million).

While there has been some consolidation in Europe over the last year, with Lufthansa and easyJet acquiring parts of failed Air Berlin in 2017, the CEOs of the continent’s biggest airlines say more is to come, particularly if oil prices remain high.

But Flybe said it was also looking at other options, such as further reductions in capacity and costs.

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