Flybe today gave backing to chairman Simon Laffin following an attempt to oust him in a row over the planned takeover by a Virgin Atlantic-led consortium.

The regional carrier said it noted media reporting that largest shareholder Hosking Partners had requested an extraordinary meeting to consider removing Laffin and replace him by airline industry executive Eric Kohn.

Sky News reported on Saturday that the move to install Kohn would enable him to lead a probe into the sale process at a discounted 1p-a-share offer.

The proposal by the Connect Airways consortium involving Virgin Atlantic, Southend airport owner Stobart Group and investment group Cyrus Capital Partners has been restructured to make it a majority asset sale worth £2.8 million that does not required shareholder approval.

Flybe confirmed in a statement to the London Stock Exchange this morning that it it received correspondence from Hosking Partners on Friday requested a general meeting including a proposed resolution that Kohn be appointed to investigate the sale process from 14 November 14 last year to January 15.

Giving its backing to Laffin, Flybe said: “The board reaffirms that it has acted at all times in the interests of its shareholders and all its stakeholders, through an extremely difficult and challenging period.

“The board continues to have full confidence in its chairman, Simon Laffin, and believes that any independent scrutiny of its conduct will support the board’s decision-making.”

Kohn has been involved with CityJet, VLM and British Airways’ former German subsidiary dba.

Flybe put itself up for sale in November following a profit warning.

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