Stobart Air

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Stobart Air
Stobart Air logo.png
IATA ICAO Callsign
Founded1970 (as Aer Arann)
19 March 2014 (as Stobart Air)
Ceased operations12 June 2021
Operating bases
Fleet size13
Parent companyEttyl Ltd.
HeadquartersDublin, Ireland
Key peopleAndy Jolly, Managing Director[1]

Stobart Air, legally incorporated as Stobart Air Unlimited Company,[failed verification] was an Irish regional airline headquartered in Dublin.[2] It operated scheduled services under the brands Aer Lingus Regional, BA CityFlyer and KLM Cityhopper on behalf of their respective owners. Stobart Air had operating bases in Cork, Dublin and Belfast for Aer Lingus Regional. [3] It ceased operations on 12 June 2021.[4]

Established as Aer Arann in 1970, a major refinancing in 2014 was associated with a name change to Stobart Air. Aer Arann (styled as Aer Arann Regional) was a regional airline based in Dublin, Ireland.[5] The airline operated scheduled services on behalf of Aer Lingus Regional. The airline had three bases in Cork, Dublin and Shannon which operated under the Aer Lingus Regional brand. On 19 March 2014, Aer Arann announced that it would be changing its corporate name to Stobart Air by the end of 2014.[6]


Aer Arann's former logo, used between 2004 and 2011, although sometimes still used when displaying flights until 2014
Aer Arann's former logo, used between 1998 and 2003
An Aer Arann ATR 72 taking off

Aer Arann[edit]

Stobart Air
Founded1970 (Galway)
Defunct19 March 2014
FateDefunct - Purchased by Stobart Group consortium and re-branded
SuccessorStobart Air
Key people
  • Sean Brogan (Chief Executive)
  • Davina Pratt (Chief Operating Officer)
  • Simon Fagan (Chief Commercial Officer)
  • Fiachra Kirwan (Chief Financial Officer)
ParentEverdeal Holdings Limited

Aer Arann was established in 1970 by James Coen and Ralph Langan to provide an island-hopping air service between Galway and the Aran Islands off the west coast of Ireland. Operations, using a single Britten-Norman Islander, began in August 1970. This service has since been moved to the less distant Connemara Airport and operates as "Aer Arann Islands". As of 2015 it still used Islander aircraft.

The turning point for the airline was in 1994 when Pádraig Ó Céidigh and Eugene O'Kelly purchased the airline. Ó Céidigh and O'Kelly began to expand the airline's routes and fleet, launching scheduled services in 1998. Also in 1998, the Irish government awarded the airline the Public service obligation (PSO) route between Donegal Airport and Dublin Airport followed by the PSO route between Sligo Airport and Dublin.

In 2002, service to the United Kingdom and Jersey was introduced, followed by service to Lorient and Nantes in Brittany in 2004.

In 2007, Aer Arann had a turnover of €100 million and passenger numbers in excess of 1.15 million.

In 2008, in recognition of the company's marketing achievements, the Head of Sales and Marketing, Colin Lewis was awarded the All Ireland Marketing Leader of the Year Award by the Marketing Institute of Ireland.[7]

In 2008, Aer Arann entered into a franchise agreement with Nex Aviation and introduced service to Amsterdam, Bordeaux, Málaga and Faro, using British Aerospace 146 aircraft during the summer months. The Amsterdam service, which was operated by an ATR 72-500, ended on 14 January 2009.

In October 2008, the airline announced that it would be implementing a cost-saving programme, due to the downturn in passenger traffic, which would involve some focus on charter flights and leasing of aircraft and their crews to other airlines.[8] The airline stated that up to 100 redundancies would be needed, but this was later revised to 70 which would represent a 20% reduction of staff.[8] The airline's key routes were to remain unchanged.

In January 2010, Aer Arann and Aer Lingus founded Aer Lingus Regional which effectively removed Aer Arann's hubs at Cork and Dublin under the new airline.

In July 2010, Aer Arann confirmed it would end flights between Cork-Belfast and Cork-Dublin from 31 August 2010. The company's press release stated, "we sincerely regret having to suspend these services and the inconvenience that it will cause our loyal customers on both routes. Unfortunately however we have an aircraft leaving the fleet and this has an obvious but regrettable impact on our schedule. Aer Arann had operated flights on the Cork to Dublin route since 2001 and began service from Cork to Belfast in March 2004 after the demise of the airline JetMagic. Aer Arann now no longer operates from Cork Airport in its own entity but continues to expand its presence at Cork under the Aer Lingus Regional brand.

On 26 August 2010 an examiner was appointed to Aer Arann. A full hearing of the company's application took place on 8 September and Aer Arann was in interim examinership under the protection of the Court. All Aer Arann flights continued to operate normally. It was understood by the high court in Dublin that Aer Arann would return to profitability in 2011.[8][9]

In October 2010, British logistics company Stobart Group was named as the preferred buyer for the airline, also announcing that the airline would serve London Southend Airport from March 2011 to destinations in Ireland and possibly France and open a base there.[10][11]

On 10 November 2010, the deal was completed. Aer Arann is now owned by Everdeal Limited, which at the time became 67.5% owned by Pádraig Ó Céidigh, Aer Arann's Chairman; 27.5% owned by Tim Kilroe, a UK-based businessman; and 5% owned by the Stobart Group, through 35 preference shares of €1 each acquired on 10 November 2010. Stobart Group entered into an option to increase its shareholding by a further 27.5% to 32.5%.[12][13]

On 7 April 2011, Aer Arann confirmed it would end its PSO (Public Service Obligation) routes after the Irish Government withdrew funding for the routes, which included Dublin to Galway, Knock and Sligo.[14]

In October 2011, Aer Arann announced it would suspend all services from Galway Airport, axed routes included Galway to Edinburgh, London-Luton, London-Southend, Manchester and Lorient. The company said the routes were "financially no longer viable". Galway Airport then confirmed it would have to make redundant 40 staff due to losing the airport's only operator.[15]

On 8 February 2012, Aer Arann's Chief Executive Paul Schutz resigned, and was replaced by Sean Brogan, the head of Stobart Ireland. This gave Stobart Group management control of the airline, and prompted speculation that it would exercise its option to increase its 5% stake in Everdeal Limited by a further 27.5% to 32.5%.[16]

On 2 March 2012, it was confirmed that Aer Arann was in final discussions to transfer all of its own operated flights to the Aer Lingus Regional brand. This would mean Aer Arann would operate on behalf of Aer Lingus Regional with the airline no longer operating routes as its own entity.[17]

On 14 March 2012, Aer Arann confirmed it would no longer exist in its own entity from 10 April 2012. All its services transferred to Aer Lingus Regional on 25 March, streamlining services to a single brand,[8] with the one remaining route operated on an RE flight number, London City to Isle of Man, ceasing on 10 April.

On 6 November 2012, Aer Arann announced it was pulling out of Waterford, as its services had not performed to a "sustainable level". However, it did not rule out returning to Waterford in the future, "if the business case can be justified".[18]

On 12 December 2012, Stobart Group exercised its option to increase its 5% shareholding in Everdeal Limited by 27.5% to 32.5%, and acquired a further 12.5% of the company, taking its stake to 45%. This diluted Chairman Pádraig Ó Céidigh's shareholding to 47.5% and Tim Kilroe's shareholding to 7.5%.[19]

On 25 January 2013, Aer Arann's Chairman Pádraig Ó Céidigh resigned. Stobart Group was therefore expected to buy his 47.5% shareholding in Everdeal Limited by the beginning of February 2013. This would have enabled it to have a 92.5% controlling stake in the airline.[20]

On 30 April 2013, Aer Arann's ownership was restructured, under the ownership of Everdeal Holdings Limited, which is in turn 45% owned by the Stobart Group; 42% owned by Invesco; 8% owned by Cenkos Securities; and 5% owned by Pádraig Ó Céidigh, Aer Arann's former Chairman. Stobart Group had an option to acquire complete control of the airline, by increasing its shareholding by a further 55% to 100%.[21]

Stobart Air[edit]

Stobart Air (formerly Aer Arann) headquarters in Dublin
A former Stobart Air ATR 72-200

On 19 March 2014, Aer Arann announced that it would be changing its corporate name to Stobart Air by the end of 2014.[22] Stobart Air was owned by Everdeal Holdings Limited, which was 81% owned by the Stobart Group, 10% by Cenkos Securities, and 10% by Pádraig Ó Céidigh, Aer Arann's former Chairman. Stobart Group had an option to acquire complete control of the airline, by increasing its shareholding to 100%.[12][21][13][19][23][24]

Stobart Air announced on 25 March 2014, it was diversifying away from operating exclusively for Aer Lingus by enacting a five-year agreement with Flybe to operate six routes in Northern Europe and Benelux from 5 June 2014.[25][26] It was further announced in November 2014 that Stobart Air was also to operate two routes from Cardiff to Edinburgh and Paris-Orly, on behalf of CityJet, from 1 December 2014.[27] The latter two routes have since ceased.[citation needed]

On 24 February 2017, Stobart Group completed 100% acquisition of Stobart Air, after purchasing the remaining 19% of Everdeal Holdings. Stobart Group also completed 100% ownership of Propius Holdings Ltd, the aircraft leasing firm through which many of the Stobart Air aircraft are sourced.[28]

As of April 2018, Stobart Air wet leased two E195s from Flybe. From the second half of 2018, Stobart Air's leasing firm Propius acquired three E195s from leasing firm GOAL. These aircraft were leased to Flybe until the end of 2018.[29]

On 11 January 2019, Stobart Aviation and Virgin Atlantic formed the Connect Airways consortium to make a takeover bid for Flybe.[30] The consortium was also to take over Stobart Air, with the aim of creating an integrated carrier operating under a Virgin brand.[31] Stobart Air's wet lease operations for other airlines would continue unchanged.[32] On 15 January 2019, Connect Airways announced an increased offer, which Flybe's board accepted.[33] The deal was completed on 21 February 2019, despite a last-minute rival bid.[34]

On 5 February 2019, it was announced that Stobart Air would wetlease one of its E195s to KLM Cityhopper to operate four flights daily between Amsterdam and Geneva and four between Amsterdam and Dublin. The flights were executed between 25 February and 30 March.[citation needed]

On 5 March 2020, Flybe entered administration due to ongoing difficulties compounded by the coronavirus pandemic; all Flybe flights operated by Flybe itself and by Stobart Air ceased.[35] On 18 March 2020, Connect Airways in turn entered administration.[36] Stobart Air itself did not go into administration, and in mid-April Stobart Group announced that it was "reviewing all options" with the administrators, including the possibility of buying back Stobart Air and its sister company Propius Leasing, believing that the two companies have a viable future after the pandemic.[37]

On 27 April 2020, Stobart Group bought back Stobart Air and Propius Leasing from the Connect Airways bankruptcy administrators. Stobart Group initially paid €344,000 to Connect Airways administrators EY, the deal is set to be worth over €9.45m. Stobart Air was also in talks with Aer Lingus to extend its franchise agreement beyond 2022.[38]

Following a competitive tender process, It was announced that Stobart Air had not been successful in retaining the Aer Lingus Regional Franchise. From January 2023 a new operator will take over with Emerald Airlines as the preferred option.[39]

In April 2021, Isle of Man-based company Ettyl reached an agreement to buy Stobart Air.[40] At the end of May, it emerged that Ettyl's intended financing had not materialised, postponing completion of the deal.[41]

On 11 June 2021, Stobart Air, informed Aer Lingus it was terminating its franchise agreement as the company was to be placed into liquidation, resulting in the cancellation of all Aer Lingus Regional flights.[42]


Aer Lingus[edit]

Destinations flown by Aer Arann before 2012 then onwards operating for Aer Lingus Regional.[43][44]

Country City Airport Notes Refs
 England Blackpool Blackpool Airport Terminated [45]
Birmingham Birmingham Airport
Bournemouth Bournemouth Airport Terminated
Bristol Bristol Airport
Doncaster Doncaster Sheffield Airport Terminated
Durham Tees Valley Durham Tees Valley Airport Terminated
East Midlands East Midlands Airport [46]
Exeter Exeter Airport [46]
Leeds/Bradford Leeds Bradford Airport
London Luton Airport Terminated
London Southend Airport Terminated
Manchester Manchester Airport
Newcastle Upon Tyne Newcastle International Airport [47]
Newquay Newquay Airport
Southampton Southampton Airport Terminated [48]
 France Bordeaux Bordeaux Airport Terminated
Brest Brest Airport Terminated
La Rochelle La Rochelle Airport Terminated
Lorient Lorient Airport Terminated [49]
Nantes Nantes Airport Terminated
Rennes Rennes–Saint-Jacques Airport Seasonal
 Ireland Cork Cork Airport Base
Donegal Donegal Airport
Dublin Dublin Airport Base
Galway Galway Airport Terminated
Kerry Kerry Airport
Shannon Shannon Airport
Waterford Waterford Airport Terminated
 Isle of Man Isle of Man Isle of Man Airport
 Jersey Jersey Jersey Airport Seasonal [50]
 Netherlands Amsterdam Amsterdam Airport Terminated
Northern Ireland Belfast Belfast City Airport Base
Derry Derry Airport Terminated
 Portugal Faro Faro Airport Terminated
 Spain Málaga Málaga Airport Terminated
 Scotland Aberdeen Aberdeen Airport
Edinburgh Edinburgh Airport
Glasgow Glasgow Airport
Inverness Inverness Airport Terminated
 Wales Cardiff Cardiff Airport (was to begin 28 June 2021) [51]

Operated as Flybe[edit]

The following routes were operated by Stobart Air for Flybe before it entered administration on 5 March 2020.

Country City Airport Notes
France Caen Caen – Carpiquet Airport
Rennes Rennes–Saint-Jacques Airport
Isle of Man Isle of Man Isle of Man Airport Base
Netherlands Groningen Groningen Airport Eelde
United Kingdom Belfast Belfast City Airport
Birmingham Birmingham Airport
Edinburgh Edinburgh Airport
Exeter Exeter Airport
Liverpool Liverpool Airport
London London City Airport Base
London Southend Airport Base
Manchester Manchester Airport
Newquay Newquay Airport


Current fleet[edit]

The Stobart Air fleet consisted of the following aircraft as of June 2021, prior to the shutdown of operations:[52]

ATR 72-600 of Aer Lingus Regional, operated by Stobart Air (2019)
Stobart Air Fleet
Aircraft In service Orders Passengers Notes
ATR 42-600 1 48 operated for Aer Lingus Regional
ATR 72-600 12 72 All operated for Aer Lingus Regional
Total 13

Former fleet[edit]

ATR 72 in Aer Lingus Regional colours taxiing at Birmingham Airport, England (2011)

The Aer Arann fleet which exclusively operated for Aer Lingus Regional included the following aircraft:[53][54][55]

Aer Arann fleet operating for Aer Lingus Regional
Aircraft Total Orders[56] Passengers Y Notes
ATR 42-300 3 48 One stored
ATR 72-201 2 66
ATR 72-500 2 72
ATR 72-600 7 72
Total 14 0

Stobart Air also operated the following aircraft types (in alphabetical order):



Eligible Aer Lingus Regional flights earn Avios points for Aer Lingus which are available to spend on upgrades and discounted flights, points can also be earned with other airlines and outlets.

In-flight services[edit]

Stobart Air operates the respective buy on board programmes of its franchise customers on their associated services, with slight adjustments owing to aircraft equipment.

Aer Club[edit]

After the transition to Aer Club from Gold Circle Club, flying with Stobart Air on behalf of Aer Lingus Regional will earn you Avios with Aer Club.

Sponsorship deals[edit]

Aer Arann was the main shirt sponsor of the Galway Gaelic Football team,[61] and had its logo on the back of the Connacht Rugby team shirts, as well as sponsoring the Munster Rugby team. On 17 December 2010, Aer Arann announced that it would be ending its sponsorship of the Galway Gaelic Football team.[62]

Accidents and incidents[edit]

  • On 4 February 2001, Short 360-100 registration EI-BPD, carrying 25 passengers and 3 crew,[63] was damaged beyond repair following a hard landing at Sheffield City Airport after a scheduled Aer Arann Express passenger flight from Dublin.[64] There were no injuries.
  • On 17 July 2011, ATR 72-212 registration EI-SLM was damaged beyond economical repair when the nose gear collapsed on landing at Shannon Airport, Ireland. The aircraft was operating an international scheduled passenger flight from Manchester Airport, United Kingdom. There were no injuries amongst the four crew and 21 passengers on board.[65]

In popular culture[edit]

Aer Arann was featured in the 1997 romantic comedy, The MatchMaker and in the 2014 film Calvary.[citation needed]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ "About". Stobart Air. Retrieved 14 December 2020.
  2. ^ "Aer Arann Contact Information Archived 2010-08-21 at the Wayback Machine." Aer Arann. Retrieved on 12 November 2009.
  3. ^ [1]. Retrieved on 10 January 2018.
  4. ^
  5. ^ "Aer Arann Contact Information Archived 30 May 2012 at" Aer Arann. Retrieved on 12 November 2009.
  6. ^ Aer Arann to change corporate name to Stobart Air Archived 20 March 2014 at the Wayback Machine. Retrieved on 19 March 2014.
  7. ^ Ruth Egan - Fireball Media Ltd. - "All Ireland Marketing Awards". Archived from the original on 18 February 2012. Retrieved 31 March 2013.
  8. ^ a b c d " - About Aer Arann - News 2005". December 10, 2005. Archived from the original on 2005-12-10.
  9. ^ "HEARING ON 08/09/10". RTÉ News. RTÉ.ie. 8 September 2010. Retrieved 2 December 2013.
  10. ^ Daly, Gavin; Ian Kehoe (10 October 2010). "British firm is revealed as new backer of Aer Arann". The Sunday Business Post. Dublin. Retrieved 11 October 2010.
  11. ^ "Regular flights from Southend airport from next March". Southend Standard. 12 October 2010. Retrieved 15 October 2010.
  12. ^ a b Aer Arann on course despite plans to sell on its aircraft leasing unit. Retrieved on 17 July 2012.
  13. ^ a b Stobart Group Annual Report 2011 Page 68 Note 22[permanent dead link]. Retrieved on 24 September 2011.
  14. ^ "ends of 3 PSO routes". RTÉ News. RTÉ.ie. 7 April 2011. Retrieved 2 December 2013.
  15. ^ Aer Arann Galway.
  16. ^ Stobart in pilot’s seat at Aer Arann as Schutz departs. Retrieved on 25 January 2013.
  17. ^ "Aer Arann ends flights in its own name".
  18. ^ Aer Arann is pulling out of Waterford on decline in passengers[permanent dead link]. Retrieved on 25 January 2013.
  19. ^ a b Aer Arann Rises from the Ashes. Retrieved on 25 January 2013.
  20. ^ End of an era as O Ceidigh quits Aer Arann. Retrieved on 25 January 2013.
  21. ^ a b Aer Arann takes off with first of new fleet. Retrieved on 19 May 2013.
  22. ^ Aer Arann to change corporate name to Stobart Air Archived 2014-03-20 at the Wayback Machine. Retrieved on 19 March 2014.
  23. ^ Authority to look at Aer Arann takeover. Retrieved on 25 January 2013.
  24. ^ Competition Authority clears Stobart acquisition of Aer Arann Archived 2014-02-22 at the Wayback Machine. Retrieved on 25 January 2013.
  25. ^ Flybe agreement to bring 60 new jobs to Southend Airport. Retrieved on 29 March 2014.
  26. ^ "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 2014-05-28. Retrieved 2014-06-10.CS1 maint: archived copy as title (link). Retrieved on 10 June 2014.
  27. ^ "CityJet and Stobart Air ink routes agreement -". Retrieved 16 December 2017.
  28. ^ [2]. Retrieved on 26 February 2017.
  29. ^ "Stobart Acquire three Embraer 195's -".
  30. ^ Kaminski-Morrow, David (11 January 2019). "Virgin Atlantic and Stobart link up to take over Flybe".
  31. ^ "Flybe rescued by Virgin and Stobart". BBC News. 11 January 2019.
  32. ^ Calder, Simon (11 January 2019). "Consortium strikes takeover deal for Flybe". Insider Media Ltd.
  33. ^ Reals, Kerry. "Connect Airways raises takeover offer for Flybe".
  34. ^ Warrington, James (21 February 2019). "Flybe completes sale to Virgin-led consortium".
  35. ^ "Everything you need to know about the Flybe collapse". The Independent. 5 March 2020.
  36. ^ "Stobart Air parent Connect Airways in administration". ch-aviation. 18 March 2020.
  37. ^ Dunn, Graham (16 April 2020). "Stobart Group ponders move to buy back regional operator". Flight Global.
  38. ^ "Stobart Group confirms purchase of Dublin-based Stobart Air for €344,000". independent.
  39. ^ "McCarthy clinches contract for Aer Lingus Regional". Irish Independent. Retrieved 14 November 2020.>
  40. ^ "Carlisle airport and Stobart Air sold to Isle of Man entrepreneur". 2021-04-21. Retrieved 2021-04-22.
  41. ^ "Stobart Air sale delayed after buyer hits financing hurdle". Flight Global. 1 June 2021.
  42. ^ "Aer Lingus regional flights operated by Stobart Air cancelled". RTÉ News. Retrieved 12 June 2021.
  43. ^ "Aer Arann plans more 'long-haul' flights with franchise arrangement". March 14, 2008.
  44. ^ "The History of Galway Airport, Carnmore". April 5, 2016.
  45. ^ "Blackpool Airport Closes its Doors". Routesonline. Retrieved 2021-03-06.
  46. ^ a b "6 new routes from Belfast City Airport". Aer Lingus Group DAC. Retrieved 23 July 2020.
  47. ^ Finn, Christina. "Aer Lingus Regional adds 50 extra UK flights including new route to Newcastle". Retrieved 2021-03-06.
  48. ^ McNamara, Rob (19 February 2019). "Aer Lingus to drop their Cork to Southampton route". Echo Live.
  49. ^ "Waterford Airport". Retrieved 2021-03-06.
  50. ^ Kaminski-Morrow2010-01-26T09:15:00+00:00, David. "Aer Arann to operate 12 routes as 'Aer Lingus Regional'". Flight Global. Retrieved 2021-03-06.
  51. ^
  52. ^ "Stobart Air Fleet Details and History". Retrieved 2021-04-22.
  53. ^ "Aer Lingus online information regarding Aer Arann partnership". Retrieved 2 December 2013.
  54. ^ "". Retrieved 2 December 2013.
  55. ^ "Avg Fleet Age". Archived from the original on 21 October 2013. Retrieved 2 December 2013.
  56. ^ "Aer Arann takes off with first of new fleet". independent.
  57. ^ "ATW Daily News". ATW Online. 14 January 2008. Retrieved 11 October 2009.
  58. ^ "Engine problem forces Aer Arann flight to make emergency landing". The Irish Times. 30 April 2008. Retrieved 11 October 2009.
  59. ^ Goodman, Fergal (17 August 1985). "EI-BRC". Retrieved 12 October 2009.
  60. ^ "Plane skids off runway". BBC News. 1 February 2001. Retrieved 11 October 2009.
  61. ^ "Aer Arann swoops in to sponsor Galway". Galway City Tribune. 1 February 2008. Archived from the original on 21 July 2011. Retrieved 24 March 2010.
  62. ^ "Aer Arann ends Galway sponsor link". The Irish Examiner. 1 February 2008. Retrieved 21 December 2010.
  63. ^ Shorts 3-60 Variant 100, EI-BPD
  64. ^ Ranter, Harro. "ASN Aircraft accident Shorts 360-100 EI-BPD Sheffield City Airport (SZD)".
  65. ^ "Avions de Transport Regional 72-212, EI-SLM Shannon Airport 17 July 2011 FINAL REPORT" (PDF). Dublin: Air Accudent Investigation Unit. Retrieved 15 May 2013.


  • Günter Endres, ed. (2010). Flight International World Airlines 2010. Sutton, Surrey, England: Reed Business Information. ISBN 978-1-898779-39-1.

External links[edit]

Media related to Stobart Air at Wikimedia Commons
Media related to Aer Arann at Wikimedia Commons