Stobart Air has ceased operations.
In a letter to staff seen by ITTN, Managing Director of Stobart Andy Jolly said that the ongoing sale of the airline by its owners Esken to virtual start-up airline Ettyl couldn’t be concluded and that “in the absence of any alternative purchasers, or any alternative sources of funding” the owners would not continue to provide financial support to the airline going forward.
It said that “following receipt of this advice the Board of Stobart Air UC has now terminated its franchise agreement with EI and has now terminated its wet-lease agreement with BA.”
George Best Belfast City Airport this morning released the following statement:
“We were informed by Aer Lingus this morning (12 June), that Stobart Air who operated the Aer Lingus Regional franchise has ceased operations.
“As a result Aer Lingus flights to and from Leeds Bradford, Edinburgh, Exeter, Manchester, East Midlands and Birmingham have been cancelled.
“The Aer Lingus Heathrow service is not affected and is still operating.
“We apologise to our passengers for this inconvenience and are working with Aer Lingus to ensure these routes are operating again as soon as possible.
“Passengers booked on these flights should not travel to the airport but should instead contact Aer Lingus.”
A Troubled Purchase
Esken had agreed to sell the airline and Carlisle Airport to Ettyl, led by 26-year-old self-styled entrepreneur Jason Scales – who has no track record in aviation – for £2, rising to to £7.5 million in 2024 depending on performance.
However, Ettyl had run into issues with its financing of the deal, leading it to contact the Isle of Man Constabulary.
Esken has filed net liabilities of €68.5 million at the end of March, including a loss of €36.8 million for Stobart Air in the last year.
Future of Aer Lingus Regional Services
Aer Lingus recently finalised an agreement with Conor McCarthy’s Emerald Airlines to take over the regional franchise from the end of 2022.
It is not clear if that agreement will be brought forward.