Islanders face more air travel disruption as Stobart Air has announced it has ceased trading and is in the process of appointing liquidators.
The air carrier operated routes between the island, the UK and Ireland, most recently on behalf of Irish operator Aer Lingus. Before the pandemic it was the only operator to fly between Ronaldsway and Dublin. However it suspended those flights last year.
‘It is with great regret and sadness that Stobart Air can confirm that the board is in the process of appointing a liquidator to the business and the airline is to cease operations with immediate effect,’ the airline said in a statement.
‘This unavoidable and difficult decision means that all Aer Lingus Regional routes, currently operated by Stobart Air under its franchise agreement with Aer Lingus, have been cancelled.’
An announcement was made earlier this year that it was to be bought by Manx based company Ettyl, but that purchase seems to have stalled after a deal to secure funding fell through and Ettyl called in the police over paperwork supplied by a proposed third party funder. The deal was due to include the Aer Lingus franchise agreement and the Carlisle Lake District Airport.
In its statement, Stobart Air said ‘it has emerged that the funding to support this transaction is no longer in place and the new owner is now unable to conclude the transaction’.
It added: ‘Given the continued impact of the pandemic which has virtually halted air travel since March 2020 and in the absence of any alternative purchasers or sources of funding, the board of Stobart Air must take the necessary, unavoidable and difficult decision to seek to appoint a liquidator.’
Gef has contacted Ettyl for comment.