Airline in trouble

Flights cancelled as Stobart Air in liquidation

The airline recently announced new routes

Stobart Air, operator of Irish airline Aer Lingus’ regional routes, is appointing a liquidator after talks with a buyer broke down.

It has resulted in the cancellation of routes including those connecting Belfast and Dublin with Edinburgh and Glasgow.

Other flights between Belfast and Leed-Bradford, Exeter, Manchester, East Midlands and Birmingham have been cancelled. Aer Lingus flights from George Best Belfast City Airport to London Heathrow will not be affected.

Stobart Air operated a number of routes within the Republic of Ireland for Aer Lingus and those routes have all been cancelled.

The announcement comes less than a month after the operator announced a new route between Belfast City and Glasgow from 1 July.

Stobart Air’s 400 staff are awaiting news of how they are affected.

A spokesperson for Aer Lingus said: “Late on the evening of 11 June, Stobart Air notified Aer Lingus that it was terminating its franchise agreement with Aer Lingus with immediate effect.

“As a result, all Aer Lingus regional flights operated by Stobart Air are cancelled.

“Stobart Air has ceased trading and is now in the process of appointing a liquidator.”

Esken, the aviation and energy infrastructure group, was in talks to sell the business to Ettyl, but Ettyl said it was unable to conclude the transactions on the original terms or to obtain an alternative funding package within the required timescale.

David Shearer, executive chairman of Esken, said  “It is disappointing for all stakeholders that we have been unable to conclude the sale of Stobart Air as a going concern despite the tireless efforts of my executive colleagues, the management team of the Airline and the team of advisers who have supported them.

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“I am acutely aware of the impact this will have on the staff, customers and the businesses associated with the airline but the continuing impact of the pandemic in terms of lockdown and limited travel has prevented us from achieving a better outcome.

“Our focus now is to secure the position for the rest of the group and ensure that we have the necessary resources to support the recovery plans for our two core businesses as we anticipate the return to normal activity levels in a post COVID world.

“The discussions on future financing including the strategic partnership for LSA are continuing and I fully expect to bring these to a positive conclusion when we announce our year end results by the end of June.”

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