Stobart Air and Cityjet move closer to anticipated merger

Companies set to announce ‘deepening co-operation’ with deal on Southend routes

Aer Lingus Regional operator Stobart Air and Cityjet are poised to announce a deal that will be seen as bringing the two airlines' anticipated merger a step closer.

It is understood that Cityjet will fly four European routes for Stobart from Southend Airport in London that could boost traffic there by about 600,000 passengers a year.

Sources say that the agreement is close to being signed off and will signal “deepening co-operation” between the pair, which have been in talks about a merger for months.

London-listed Stobart Group, which owns Southend Airport and controls Stobart Air, may confirm details of the agreement when it publishes interim results today.


Cityjet will begin flying the routes from next summer and, it is thought, will base some of the new SSJ100 aircraft it has on order from Superjet at the London airport.

Contract flights

Its founder and executive chairman, Pat Byrne, said earlier this year that it intended growing its network by flying routes under contract for other airlines. The Irish carrier already has a strong presence in London City Airport.

Cityjet has been in talks for some time with Stobart on a possible merger and there is still a possibility that the transaction could go ahead in coming days. Neither would comment on that or the Southend agreement yesterday.

Stobart Group bought fellow shareholder Invesco out of Stobart Air last week in what was seen as a tidying-up exercise ahead of the deal.

Stobart Air was previously known as Aer Arann. The London-listed transport group was the biggest of a number of investors which rescued the airline from examinership in 2012 and it was renamed in 2014.

One of Stobart’s reasons for buying into the Irish airline was that it saw the carrier as a means of developing Southend, which is largely overshadowed by London’s bigger and better-known airports.

Barry O'Halloran

Barry O'Halloran

Barry O’Halloran covers energy, construction, insolvency, and gaming and betting, among other areas