Aer Lingus Regional services take off at Cork
Aer Lingus Regional, the service operated by Stobart Air, is expanding its presence at Cork Airport.
It begins its new service to Leeds Bradford today, operating up to three times a week between the cities.
It also launched its service between Cork and Southampton yesterday. That service will operate up to five times a week.
Aer Lingus Regional is also increasing the frequencies on existing routes from Cork to Manchester, Glasgow and Newcastle.
Stobart Air said that with the two new routes, it hopes to add about 60,000 more passengers a year to its services at Cork. It's also basing a third aircraft there.
Stobart Air is owned by UK logistics group Stobart, Invesco and Cenkos Securities. Padraig O'Ceidigh also owns 5pc of the carrier.
The airline has a franchise agreement with Aer Lingus to operate the Aer Lingus Regional service. It has been successful at generating traffic from regional UK airports and driving it through Dublin to feed Aer Lingus transatlantic services out of the capital. Stobart Air also operates flights on behalf of Flybe.
Invesco signalled last year that it was interested in exiting its investment in Stobart Air, and that potential sales process has remained on-going. Invesco owns 40pc of the business.
The expansion at Cork is a welcome boost for the airport there, which has also been fighting to secure its first transatlantic service. Cork Airport is hoping to attract an additional 165,000 passengers in 2016. It handed 2.07 million passengers last year.