Stobart Air invests €25m as it cements Flybe alliance
Dublin-based Stobart Air is investing €25m and adding 60 jobs as it intensifies its relationship with UK airline Flybe.
Stobart Air also expects to carry a total of more than two million passengers this year, compared to about 1.5 million in 2016.
The carrier, which also operates the Aer Lingus Regional service, has made chief financial officer Graeme Buchanan managing director.
He'll report to former EasyJet executive Warwick Brady, who is currently the deputy chief executive at Stobart Group but will take over as CEO from next month.
Stobart Air announced last year that it was deepening its links with Flybe by operating 12 new routes for the airline out of London Southend Airport from this summer.
It previously said that two Embraer jets would be used on the routes, having been placed with Stobart Air by Flybe for up to an initial 20-month period.
It's understood that Stobart Air is also planning to relaunch a Flybe service between Southend and Dublin later this year using one of the new jets.
Stobart Air started the recruitment process for staff to crew the Embraer jets earlier this year.
It will hire 60 extra staff, bringing its total workforce to 570, serving a total of 43 routes.
Stobart Air announced the deal to fly the additional Flybe routes last December, just as Stobart pulled the plug on a planned takeover by Dublin-based CityJet.
Flybe is now headed by former CityJet CEO Christine Ourmieres-Widener.
Mr Buchanan said that the addition of the Embraers to Stobart Air is a "significant milestone" for the company.
"It allows us to fly more passengers further, which, given the recent announcement to expand our partnership with Flybe at London Southend Airport, has real value," he said.
Stobart Group also owns London Southend Airport. Stobart Air uses ATR turboprop aircraft for its franchise arrangement with Aer Lingus.
Warwick Brady said that the Stobart Group believes Stobart Air can continue to expand and said the carrier would play an "important part" in the group's investment plans.
Meanwhile, CityJet has announced that it is to recruit an additional 10 trainee pilots to fill demand on existing and new routes.
CityJet and CAE Oxford Aviation Academy, which manages the pilot training programme, are seeking highly motivated candidate pilots for entry into its "Climb High" mentored pilot training programme.
Selected cadets will complete an Integrated ATPL Training Course at CAE Oxford Aviation academies in Oxford, UK and Phoenix, Arizona.