Aer Arann is to change its corporate name to Stobart Air, the airline announced today.
The transition to its new corporate name will be completed by the end of this year, and marks the conclusion of the first phase of the airline’s ‘new beginning’ strategy.
The airline will continue to operate under the Aer Lingus Regional brand as part of its franchise agreement with Aer Lingus. Stobart Air's Irish operations will continue to be based at Northwood, Santry, next to Dublin Airport.
The next phase of its strategy will focus on additional franchise partnerships; leveraging its connection with London Southend Airport; and advancing growth with its other airport partners, including Dublin, Cork and Shannon airports.
Stobart Air aims to become a specialist in franchise or contract flying for major European airlines, and to double its passenger numbers within five years.
Developments at the airline over the past year include:
- Successful financial restructuring, with fresh investment from the FTSE listed multimodal transport company, Stobart Group;
- Fleet renewal investment programme and subsequent roll-out of eight new ATR 72-600 aircraft;
- Extension of its franchise agreement with Aer Lingus to 2022. The airline currently operates 550 flights weekly across 27 routes throughout Ireland, the UK and France under the Aer Lingus Regional brand;
- New routes and capacity expansion from Dublin, Cork and Shannon airports to UK destinations;
- Creation of an additional 50 jobs, bring total staff numbers to 370.
Stobart Group has repositioned itself as an Infrastructure and Support Services Group. Its aviation assets comprise London Southend Airport; Carlisle Lake District Airport; Stobart Air; plus air freight, maintenance and airport services.
EasyJet, Thomson and First Choice operate services at London Southend Airport, which was recently recognised as the best airport for customer experience by Which? Magazine. London Southend Airport saw a 57.1% increase in its passenger numbers from 2012 to 2013, making it the fastest growing airport in Europe.
Stobart Group first acquired a shareholding in Aer Arann in 2010 following the airline’s examinership, and is the airline’s largest shareholder.
Commenting on the corporate name change, Sean Brogan, Interim Chief Executive, Stobart Air said:
‘Today, we operate 27 routes across Ireland, UK and France, with over 1.2 million annual passengers. Changing the corporate name is the next step in achieving our ambition to further expand our operations. Stobart Air positions the airline to explore new opportunities and add to our franchise network, particularly in the UK and mainland Europe.’
Andrew Tinkler, Chief Executive, Stobart Group said:
‘This is the next phase in developing the value of our aviation assets and investments. The transition of Aer Arann to Stobart Air is a natural progression in the development of our airline investment. The combination of the Stobart Air franchise model and London Southend Airport has performed to date, as demonstrated by Aer Lingus Regional. We look forward to further growth in the period ahead.’