Regional airline collapses into liquidation with the loss of 480 jobs

Regional airline Stobart Air has collapsed, grounding its Aer Lingus Regional flights and putting 480 people out of work.

The Irish airline flew to eight English airports, including Birmingham, Manchester, Leeds Bradford, and East Midlands, as well as other destinations around Great Britain and Ireland.

Stobart Air, which flew as Aer Lingus Regional, said it “must take the necessary, unavoidable and difficult decision of appointing a liquidator”.

It blamed the pandemic “which has virtually halted air travel” and it had been unable to find a buyer or funder for the airline.

A deal had been agreed with Ettyl, an Isle of Man-based company, but that fell apart when the buyer was unable to secure the necessary funding.

The airline began life as Aer Arann in 1970 before becoming Stobart Air in 2014.

Stobart Air had a contract to operate Aer Lingus’s regional flights until the end of 2022. Last month Aer Lingus agreed a deal with Emerald Airlines to take over the contract in 2023.

An Aer Lingus statement said: “Stobart Air referred to the continuing impact of the pandemic, which has resulted in almost no flying since March 2020. Stobart Air has ceased trading and is now in the process of appointing a liquidator.

“Aer Lingus apologises to customers for the inconvenience caused by the cancellation at such short notice of all flights operated by Stobart Air.”