Published on March 24th, 2020 | by Mark Dwyer0
Stobart Air to Cease International Flights as Parent goes into Administration
Stobart Air, operator of Aer Lingus Regional flights, will suspend all international flights next Saturday 28th March. The suspension, which will remain in effect until further notice, has come about due to an unprecedented drop in demand as a result of the COVID-19 outbreak. The airline is already operating a reduced international timetable.
The Public Service Obligation (PSO) routes from Dublin to Kerry and Donegal will continue to operate. In a statement, Aer Lingus said that it had been informed by Stobart that it will cease some of its operations from Wednesday and that passengers would be contacted by the airline to advise them of their options. The company said that it expected temporary lay-offs would be required as a result of the measures.
Parent Company Enters Administration
In a further blow to the airline, its holding company Connect Airways, has entered into administration in the UK. Accountancy firm EY has been appointed as administrator and now controls Connect Airways who owns 49% of Stobart Air. The remaining 51% is owned by more than 400 of the airlines’ staff. The move into administration is linked to the collapse of FlyBe, which was also owned by Connect Airways. In a statement to the Irish Independent, EY said: “Alan Hudson, Joanne Robinson, Simon Edel and Lucy Winterborne of EY’s Restructuring team were appointed joint administrators of Connect Airways Limited on March 10, 2020,” it said.
“Owned by a consortium of companies, Connect is a holding company that was set up in January 2019 to assist with the acquisition of the airline Flybe. Connect has no day-to-day trading operations itself.”
Stobart Air said in a statement: “The administration of Connect Airways does not directly impact the operation of Stobart Air services.”
Connect Airways itself has a complex ownership structure involving UK Stobart Group, Virgin Travel Group and Cyrus Equity Partners. Eight ATR aircraft operated by Stobart Air are owned by subsidiary of Stobart Group, Propius.