DALLAS – Today in Aviation, Dublin-based carrier Aer Arran announced that it would change its name to Stobart Air (RE) in 2014.
The move came as part of the airline’s ‘new beginning’ strategy. This would see RE continue its Aer Lingus (EI) Regional franchise, which was operated since January 2010. EI planned to expand this model further with other European airlines. Management hoped this would see passenger numbers double within five years.
“Explore New Opportunities”
Speaking at the time, RE Chief Executive Sean Brogan said, “Today, we operate 27 routes across Ireland, UK and France, with over 1.2 million annual passengers. Changing the corporate name is the next step in achieving our ambition to further expand our operations. Stobart Air positions the airline to explore new opportunities and add to our franchise network, particularly in the UK and mainland Europe,”
Aer Arran was created in 1970 to operate services between Galway and the Aran Islands. Steady expansion followed with numerous new routes added, including Public Service Obligation (PSO) services between Donegal (CFN), Sligo (SXL) and Dublin (DUB). It operated a fleet of 36-seat Short 360s.
But by 2008, RE was struggling financially. Management implemented numerous cost-saving measures, including a 20% reduction in staff. By 2010 the airline had been placed in interim examinership while seeking investment.
From Trucks to Planes
This came in the form of a logistics company, the Stobart Group, which purchased a 5% stake in October 2010.
Further restrictions took place. Operations from Stobart-owned London Southend Airport (SEN) began in 2011. RE signed a franchise agreement with Flybe (BE) in March 2014.
But in November 2020, Aer Lingus announced that RE was to lose the ‘Regional’ contract. Coupled with the downturn in the aviation industry at the time, RE was subsequently placed into liquidation on June 11, 2021.
Featured image: Stobart Air ATR 72 (EI-REH). Photo: Alberto Cucini/Airways.