The Sunday Telegraph

BA and Aer Lingus restore collapsed Stobart Air routes

- By Oliver Gill CHIEF BUSINESS CORRESPOND­ENT

BRITISH Airways and Aer Lingus will step in to keep flights running between Britain and the Irish mainland after the collapse of a regional airline.

Thousands faced disappoint­ment after Stobart Air ceased trading but seven of the 12 Stobart routes will be back in service today and run by either Aer Lingus or BA City Flyer. Five other routes are yet to be determined.

Stobart Air’s failure comes just four days after ministers relaxed travel restrictio­ns for flights to Ireland. Industry sources said there had been a surge in bookings after the Government halved the length of a quarantine period to five days on Tuesday.

It operated regional services for Aer Lingus between Belfast, Leeds, Bradford, Edinburgh, Exeter, Manchester, East Midlands and Birmingham, as well as flights from Edinburgh, Glasgow, Manchester and Newquay to Dublin and Irish domestic routes from the capital to Donegal and Kerry. Stobart Air also ran services for British Airways CityFlyer from London City Airport, and KLM Cityhopper from Amsterdam. Flights were suspended last year.

The airline was due to be sold to Isle of Man investor Jason Scales, 26, for just £2 alongside Carlisle Lake District airport. However, the Bitcoin entreprene­ur’s financing fell through after potential takeover irregulari­ties.

Stobart Air’s owner, Esken, a conglomera­te listed on the London Stock Exchange that also owns Southend Airport, said it could not find another buyer. The liquidatio­n means that around 480 jobs are at risk.

Henry Smith, of the all-party parliament­ary group for aviation, said it was a “wake-up call to the Government” as it refuses to relax border restrictio­ns.

Aer Lingus said: “All impacted customers are being contacted directly and offered details of an alternativ­e flight where feasible or a full refund.”

Business: Page 1

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