“Given the continued impact of the pandemic which has virtually halted air travel since March 2020 and in the absence of any alternative purchasers or sources of funding, the Board of Stobart Air must take the necessary, unavoidable and difficult decision to seek to appoint a liquidator,” the company said. On Saturday Stobart Air said the funding for the deal “is no longer in place and the new owner is now unable to conclude the transaction”. Ettyl is owned by Jason Scales, an entrepreneur in his twenties based in the Isle of Man whose business interests include a cryptocurrency company. Scales said in a message posted to Twitter that he had “fought hard” to rescue the deal after “issues were flagged to do with an Ettyl funder”.
It has most recently only been operating regional flights on behalf of Aer Lingus. Several flights from Belfast and Dublin airports were cancelled on Saturday as a result of its collapse. Before the pandemic it operated over 900 flights a week on 30 routes throughout Western Europe, but it was forced to reduce its schedules by 94 per cent during the crisis.
Esken, formerly known as Stobart Group, in April announced it would sell Stobart Air and Carlisle Lake District Airport to Isle of Man-based company Ettyl, but the following month warned the transaction was delayed following financing problems. Founded in 1970, using turboprop aircraft along Ireland’s west coast, Stobart grew to become a relatively significant player in European short-haul charter flying.
Flybe collapsed last spring at the start of the crisis, while Cardiff airport has relied on cash support from the Welsh government to stay open. Source www.ft.com While major listed airlines have been able to raise billions of pounds to shield themselves from the downturn, smaller regional players without access to major sources of capital have been more vulnerable.
The aviation industry is enduring the worst crisis in its history, as travel has been severely restricted by border closures and government restrictions. Carlisle Airport, which is not handling any flights at the moment, would be retained and “all options” explored for its future, Esken said.
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