Aer Arann looks to future after financial restructuring
Aer Arann has said it is embarking on a "new beginning" after completing a financial and operational restructuring.
Its interim chief executive, Sean Brogan, said that the airline now planned to double its passenger numbers to two million by 2018 and become one of Europe's leading regional airlines by 2015.
He said Aer Arann, which now operated all its flights under the Aer Lingus Regional livery as part of a franchise agreement, would launch new services to Manchester and Birmingham this summer and would boost frequencies on services to Scotland.
Aer Arann, now controlled by UK logistics group Stobart, has struggled for the past number of years. It emerged from examinership in 2010 in a deal that saw Stobart and other investors stump up cash under a rescue plan. It is thought that Stobart owns 45pc of Aer Arann.
The Irish Independent revealed last month that Aer Arann chairman Padraig O Ceidigh had quit the business he piloted since 1994.
The airline had taken a heavy toll on his health, but he is now targeting fresh business opportunities.
Aer Lingus chief executive Christoph Mueller confirmed last week that the franchise agreement with Aer Arann had just been extended for 10 years.
Mr Mueller also said that Aer Lingus has taken a 33pc equity stake in a company which would acquire eight aircraft. These will in turn be leased to Aer Arann. Aer Lingus has agreed to pay an initial $14.2m (€10.5m) for its stake in the firm and may boost that if a further two aircraft are acquired.
The aircraft will be used to replace the existing Aer Arann fleet and deliveries are expected to be complete within 11 months.