Stobart Air, for those that don’t know, was the airline contracted to fly Aer Lingus Regional services. These operated from Dublin and Belfast to cities in Ireland and the United Kingdom using ATR-42 and ATR-72 turboprops. Overnight, the airline announced it has gone into liquidation.
This means that all services are cancelled with immediate effect. While this will impact fewer passengers than it would have in busier times, it is bad news for all the loyal staff at the carrier.
Which Routes Are Cancelled Due To The Liquidation?
Aer Lingus released a statement this morning notifying passengers that services operated by Stobart Air have ceased. This includes both Irish domestic routes from Dublin to Donegal and Kerry. Also impacted are services from Dublin to Glasgow and Edinburgh in Scotland and Manchester and Newquay in England.
From Belfast City Airport in Northern Ireland, services are cancelled to Manchester, Birmingham, Edinburgh, Leeds Bradford, Exeter and East Midlands. It’s quite a number of routes. Loganair have announced they have a rescue fare of £60 one way including baggage for Aer Lingus Regional passengers on routes out of Belfast City. You need to call them on 0344 800 2855 and have proof of your booking for travel between now and the end of August 2021.
Stobart Air was founded in 1970 as Aer Arann, with Stobart Group taking complete control and changing the name in 2014. In April 2021, a company called Ettyl Limited based in Isle of Man agreed to takeover the airline from its main owner Esken. In late May, they reported the funding was no longer available and were looking at their options. As of last night, they advised they were unable to complete the transaction and terminated the contract.
It is perhaps not too surprising, as Stobart Air had already lost the tender to continue operating the Aer Lingus Regional franchise. This was a competitive tender and was secured by Emerald Airlines, a brand new startup that is due to commence operations for the Irish airline from January 2023.
With Stobart Air going into liquidation, it will be interesting to see what happens to the regional routes. Aer Lingus could operate some of them with their Airbus A320 fleet, while others may be lost until the new franchisee comes online.
Either way, this is a blow to Irish aviation as well as the airports. The regional connectivity allowed Dublin to be a transatlantic hub, connecting Aer Lingus passengers from the UK to the United States, while Donegal and Kerry in Ireland rely on the domestic services. A sad time for all really.
Have you ever flown with Aer Lingus Regional before? Thank you for reading and if you have any comments or questions, please leave them below.
Featured image by RHL Images via Wikimedia Commons.
Aer Arann by Dale Coleman on Jetphotos.net via Wikimedia Commons.