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Stobart Air to fly to continent mainland

Tuesday, March 25 10:49:08

Stobart Air, formerly Aer Arann, has agreed a partnership with Europe's largest regional airline, Flybe that will see Stobart Air operate services to mainland Europe.

As part of a five-year deal, Stobart Air will operate Flybe-branded aircraft on six new European routes from London Southend Airport, commencing 5 June next. The six new routes are expected to carry 100,000 passengers in 2014, rising to 200,000 next year.

Details of the six routes, including prices and frequencies, will be announced on 3 April when tickets go-live on flybe.com.

As part of the deal, Stobart Air will base two 72 seat aircraft at London Southend Airport. The airline also announced that to cater for its expansion, it will create 50 new jobs, bringing its total workforce to 420 people. Recruitment for the 50 new positions, which will be based at London Southend Airport, has commenced.

The Flybe deal is Stobart Air's second franchise flying partnership. In 2012, the airline signed a 10-year franchise agreement with Aer Lingus, operating Irish and UK services under the Aer Lingus Regional brand.

Total passenger numbers at the airline will reach 1.4 million this year, a 55pc rise in the four years since the airline commenced franchised operations.

Sean Brogan, Interim Chief Executive Officer, Stobart Air said: 'We are pleased to have concluded an agreement with Flybe, the leading regional airline in Europe. Each of the six new routes are strong locations, keen to secure a London connection. London Southend Airport, with its convenience and quick access to London, will resonate with business and leisure passengers, as will our competitive fares.'

Commenting on Stobart Air's franchise flying strategy, Mr Brogan said: 'We have moved to the next level as an airline. Our aim is to become a specialist in franchise flying and broaden our reach into new markets. Deals with Aer Lingus and now Flybe represents real progress in a short period of time. Airlines and passengers are responding to our product. We have set a target of two million passengers by 2016 and believe this is achievable.'