UK regional airline Flybe Group named Christine Ourmieres-Widener as chief executive, bringing in the former head of rival CityJet to help it navigate a tough European airlines market. 

The appointment comes two months after the surprise departure of Saad Hammad as CEO.

This had left Flybe rudderless at a time when European airlines face lower demand due to Brexit uncertainty and a string of attacks in Europe and depressed appetite for corporate travel. 

Flybe connects British regional airports to London and other European cities.

It had cautioned in November that Britain's vote to leave the European Union could affect the aviation industry "operationally and commercially" and posed short-term challenges because of the pound's sharp slide.

Flybe said today that Ourmieres-Widener, who has spent her entire career in the aviation and travel industry and was most recently chief global sales officer at American Express Global Business Travel, would start as CEO from January 16, 2017. 

The airline also announced new routes from Edinburgh and Aberdeen to Heathrow starting in March 2017, as it looks to capitalise on slots that become available under the terms of EU clearance for British Airways parent IAG's acquisition of BMI. 

Analysts said that they expect Flybe to pursue additional codeshare agreements with long haul airlines operating into Heathrow. 

Most of the long haul airlines such as Cathay Pacific, Singapore Airlines, Virgin Atlantic that Flybe has agreed codeshare deals with at other airports also fly from Heathrow.