Stobart Group considers buying back Stobart Air

Carlisle-based aviation and energy firm Stobart Group confirmed on Thursday media speculation that it is considering buying back regional airline Stobart Air and its leasing firm Propius from the administrators of Connect Airways.

Stobart Group sold the regional airline in 2019 to Connect Airways, the owner of the collapsed regional airline Flybe.

In a stock exchange statement, Stobart Group said: “Stobart Group, the aviation and energy group, notes the recent press speculation stating that Stobart Group is considering the acquisition of Stobart Air and Propius, from EY, the administrators of Connect Airways. 

“The businesses were owned previously by Stobart Group and were sold to Connect Airways when that business was formed by the Group, Virgin and Cyrus to acquire FlyBe in February 2019. 

“Neither Stobart Air nor Propius are themselves currently in administration. 

“The company confirms that it is reviewing all options in relation to the future of Stobart Air and Propius during this unprecedented time including the possibility of acquiring the businesses from the administrators.

“A range of discussions are ongoing and there is no certainty that any transaction will take place.

“The board of Stobart Group believes that Stobart Air and Propius have a viable future after COVID-19 and that by working with Aer Lingus as franchise partner it can place the business on a secure footing and manage the impact of guarantee obligations in a controlled manner.

“These legacy obligations relate to a sale and leaseback of aircraft carried out in early 2017.

“They include maintenance commitments, together with certain obligations in respect of the franchise agreement with Aer Lingus and certain fuel hedge arrangements in respect of Stobart Air and cumulatively could potentially be significant.

“These obligations remained with Stobart Group after the Connect Airways transaction as they were scheduled to run off over a period of time and it was not possible for these to be released.”