Stobart Group announced it was selected as the preferred bidder for Aer Arann (Galway News/Irish Independent, 12-Oct-2010). The company will invest up to EUR4 million in the carrier in the form of a convertible preference share. This would allow existing Aer Arann owner and Chairman, Padraig Ó Céidigh, to retain his majority stake. The management team, led by CEO Paul Schutz, will remain in place. Stobart has signed a five-year operating agreement with Aer Arann to use London Southend Airport for flights starting in Mar-2011. Stobart will also invest EUR2.5 million to incentivise and market Aer Arann’s operations from Southend. The Irish High Court has extended the examinership at Aer Arann until 22-Oct-2010, allowing time to finalise the scheme with creditors, who are owed approximately EUR18 million.
Stobart Group to take stake in Aer Arann to save carrier
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CityJet ends its plan to buy Stobart Air & enter Southend, but retains its growth aims.
In early Dec-2016 the Irish regional airline CityJet ended talks with Stobart Group about the possible acquisition of the airline Stobart Air. This deal could have accelerated CityJet's growth in the area of regional airline contract flying, where Stobart Air is positioned with contracts for Aer Lingus and Flybe. Nevertheless, while this is a setback to CityJet's ambitions, the airline continues to pursue an aggressive growth strategy.
CityJet had also preliminarily agreed to launch new routes at Stobart Group's London Southend Airport, but will not now do so. Instead, Stobart Group has taken control of Stobart Air by acquiring shares from minority investors, and will use its in-house airline to grow the Southend network. This should help the airport in reaching its own growth targets, as set by the Stobart Group.
CityJet may seek an alternative acquisition in order to fulfil its goal of becoming the largest regional wet lease provider in Europe. It will almost certainly convert all or some of the 16 options it holds over Sukhoi Superjets, in addition to its firm order for 15 (three have already been delivered). CityJet has undergone significant change since leaving the Air France-KLM group in 2014, and its losses are narrowing.
Norwegian Air: 10 new North Atlantic routes enabled by new narrowbody aircraft and price stimulation
Norwegian's long anticipated new trans Atlantic routes, to be launched in summer 2017, will add five airports in the UK and Ireland and three in the US to its existing long haul network. Norwegian already operates to eight US primary airports from London Gatwick. By using new narrowbody technology Norwegian is opening trans Atlantic travel to smaller cities that could not support widebody service.
The new trans Atlantic routes, the first to be operated by its Irish subsidiary NAI after receiving US rights late in 2016, will deploy new Boeing 737-8 MAX aircraft with a longer range than existing narrowbodies, and Norwegian is the European launch customer of the type.
In total there will be 10 new routes, comprising 38 weekly flights from Edinburgh, Belfast International, Cork, Shannon and Dublin serving three secondary airports on the US east coast. These are Stewart International (SWF), Providence (PVD) and Hartford Bradley International (BDL). These US airports are small and relatively unknown in Europe, and Norwegian will have to rely on price stimulation more than it has done on existing long haul routes. Nevertheless, Norwegian is once more leading the market with this innovation.