An announcement on the proposed sale of Stobart Air by Esken, previously known as Stobart Group, was released yesterday. Less expected was an announcement about the parallel sale of Carlisle Lake District Airport.
Stobart Air is, effectively, heading towards dormancy. Its only current routes are those it flies under contract for Aer Lingus Regional, but this contract has been lost. IAG awarded a contract to Emerald Airlines – which didn’t own any aircraft at the time – to run services from 2023.
The proposed buyer is Ettyl. This is almost certanly not a name you know. Ettyl is an airline start-up based on the Isle of Man.
Whilst no plans have been published, I would imagine that Ettyl intends to use the Stobart Air fleet to operate additional services from the island.
Stobart Air has a fleet of 13 turboprop aircraft, which is more than is needed to serve the Isle of Man. This may be why Carlisle Lake District Airport is also included in the proposed sale.
As we documented on Head for Points, Stobart Group / Esken spent large sums on bringing Carlisle Lake District Airport back into commercial operation. The re-opening date was pushed back multiple times and then, of course, coronavirus hit.
Stobart Group had hoped to boost its airline operations by merging Stobart Air into Flybe. The group was an investor, alongside Virgin Atlantic, in Flybe when it collapsed.
Esken / Stobart Group will be retaining London Southend Airport, at least for now.