Flybe has confirmed summer 2020 expansion from Southend airport with six new services.

The regional carrier, to be rebranded Virgin Connect next year, is to start new routes – Belfast City, Edinburgh, Glasgow, Newcastle, Isle of Man and Jersey – in addition to four existing services to Caen, Groningen, Newquay and Rennes.

The increased Southend network will be operated by three 78-seat Q400 turboprops based in Belfast City, Edinburgh and Glasgow alongside two 70-seat ATR aircraft based at Stobart Group-owned Southend airport.

As part of a new commercial arrangement with Stobart Air to optimise operations, Flybe will next summer increase its short-haul presence in the London market by offering ten routes with a choice of up to 214 flights a week to and from Southend airport.

The new routes effectively double the airline’s network from the Essex airport, run by Virgin Connect’s 30% shareholder Stobart Group alongside Virgin Atlantic and Cyrus Capital Partners.

A Manchester to Stuttgart route has also been announced alongside schedule improvements at Belfast City, Birmingham, Edinburgh, Manchester and Southampton airports.

Connect Airways’ CEO, Mark Anderson said: “I am very excited with our new summer 2020 schedule and its focus on our business customers and regional communities.

“The schedule includes many of our most popular high frequency services with better timings to accommodate our frequent fliers as well as new flights from London Southend airport.

“By increasing our presence at London Southend our customers will also, for the first-time next summer, benefit from Flybe’s ability to create a truly customer-centric regional network.

“This schedule strengthens Flybe’s commitment to providing unparalleled connectivity from regional airports to destinations across the UK, Europe and beyond.

“We understand our customers’ needs and recognise that their time is precious. This is why we are proud to give them added opportunity to stay connected to what matters most to them, in a way that no other regional airline can. At the same time, we will deliver outstanding customer experiences with a personal touch.

“As Flybe moves towards its full re-brand as Virgin Connect next year, we are proud of the role the airline continues to play in bringing people and communities even closer.

“Together with our teams, we look forward to welcoming all our customers on board our flights next summer.”

Meanwhile, Ryanair is expected to announce a Southend route to Milan on Friday.