The shareholders of troubled airline company Flybe, which operates more than 30 routes out of Southampton Airport, have voted to accept a rockbottom offer from consortium including Virgin Atlantic and Stobart Aviation.

At today's special meeting shareholders voted by 83 per cent to 17 per cent to take the 1p per share offered by Connect Airways.

The deal values the company at just £2.2 million.

The sale is expected to go through on March 11 when it is also expected that trading in Flybe shares will be suspended. The last day of dealing in, and for registration of transfers of, Flybe shares will be March 8.

Earlier Flybe bosses had warned shareholders that this was the only deal they would consider accepting and if they didn't agree to it the company would be wound up.

The board snubbed a rival rescue proposal from investors including US airline Mesa Air Group and backed by former Stobart boss Andrew Tinkler which reportedly proposed making a capital injection of £65 million at 4.5p a share.

Exeter-based Flybe is the largest independent regional airline in Europe.

It carries eight million passengers a year between 81 airports across the UK and the rest of Europe, with over 210 routes across 15 countries.

Flybe said it had been facing a “challenging market” made worse by the weak pound and rising fuel prices.

The operator flies to 33 destinations from Southampton including Paris, Amsterdam, Dublin, Verona and Malaga.