Flybe will offer more than 20 million shares at an opening price of 295p when it begins trading on the London Stock Exchange on December 15, valuing the airline at £215 million.

The shares will amount to a 28% holding in Europe’s biggest regional carrier, raising just over £60 million at the offer price.

Flybe intends to use half the proceeds to fund fleet expansion and retain half for future acquisitions and alliances.

Exeter-based holding company Rosedale Aviation will retain a controlling stake in the carrier with a 49.6% shareholding.

Company directors and staff hold just over 7% and British Airways 15% – a stake BA acquired as part of the deal which saw Flybe take over regional airline BA Connect.

Flybe has grown rapidly from a provincial UK airline into a major regional carrier with a fleet of 68 aircraft and 140 on order. It operates more than 200 routes from 73 airports, carries 7.2 million passengers a year and employs almost 3,000 staff.

The airline reported turnover of £570 million last year and a profit before tax of £6.8 million.