Stobart Air expands with British Airways route deal
Stobart Air has agreed a deal to operate routes for British Airways (BA).
Stobart - which operates regional routes for Aer Lingus and Flybe - will provide the services under the BA Cityflyer brand.
It will invest €36m in two Embraer E190 jet aircraft and 40 new jobs on foot of the deal.
Stobart Air managing director Graeme Buchanan said the deal was "a significant recognition of our increased capabilities as an airline".
The so-called ACMI deal sees Stobart provide aircraft, crew, maintenance and insurance to BA in return for a fee.
Last year, Stobart Air announced a €25m investment in the airline business, with the addition of 60 new jobs and three Embraer E195 jet aircraft to its fleet.
"Due to the continued and consistent growth of our airline, we are investing in our fleet and our people to deliver on our current growth strategy," Mr Buchanan said.
"As a regional partner to leading airlines, we constantly review our business operations and our network to position us for opportunities with key partners from the most popular cities and routes across Ireland, the UK and beyond.
"We continuously seek to provide the optimum connectivity on key routes for customers, working with our partners. We have ambitious plans to grow and develop this partnership in 2018," he said.
Stobart Air is on track to carry two million passengers in 2018 - a 17pc increase in passenger numbers on the previous year.
The airline is part of the Stobart Group, which has been the subject of a bitter boardroom battle this year.
Former CEO Andrew Tinkler led a narrowly unsuccessful attempt to replace the company's chairman, with the support of Neil Woodford's Woodford Investment Management.
The company and Mr Tinkler are now engaged in legal action.