An Arizona-based commuter airline is backing a proposal to shore up the finances of Flybe, the struggling regional carrier, in a last-ditch effort to scupper a takeover led by Virgin Atlantic Airways.

Sky News can exclusively reveal that Mesa Air Group, which is headquartered in Phoenix, is part of a consortium which has tabled an offer to inject £65m of new equity into Flybe.

The rival proposal is understood to have been submitted to Flybe’s board, chaired by Simon Laffin, on Tuesday afternoon.

Flybe chairman Simon Laffin
Flybe chairman Simon Laffin

People close to the company said the refinancing plan was being led by Bateleur Capital, an investment firm which focuses on industries including aviation.

The offer is also said to have support from Avenue Capital, the US hedge fund, and is conditional on a previously agreed deal with Virgin being abandoned.

Under the terms proposed to Flybe, the rival consortium would inject £65m of new equity issued at a price of about 4.5p-a-share – which is significantly more than the total value of an offer from Virgin Atlantic‎ and its partners.

The offer would be accompanied by new debt facilities and potential asset sales which in total would provide new funding to Flybe worth about £120m.

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