24 April 2014 (North West Evening Mail)
Stobart Group’s aviation division has suffered another blow, just a month after a High Court judge quashed its plans for Carlisle Airport.
Carriers Flybe and easyJet have axed routes from Stobart’s London Southend Airport.
Flybe has cancelled flights to Cologne after only one week in response to an announcement from Ryanair that it is launching a route from nearby Stansted to Cologne.
Meanwhile, easyJet has reduced the number of planes based at Southend from four to three, scrapping flights to Krakow in Poland and winter services to Jersey and Palma, Majorca.
Flybe’s routes from Southend are operated by Stobart Air’s aircraft under a franchising agreement.
The airline’s other new routes to Rennes and Caen in northern France, Munster in Germany, Antwerp in Belgium and Groningen in the Netherlands, will continue.
A Stobart Air spokesman said that Flybe’s decision had been taken “for commercial reasons”.
Stobart had hoped the new routes would carry 200,000 passengers in 2015, rising to 700,000 by 2017.
Aer Lingus Regional also operates from Southend under a similar franchising agreement with Stobart Air.
Stobart’s plans for Carlisle Airport envisaged daily flights to Southend and Dublin.
Those plans are on hold following a successful legal challenge by Irthington farmer Gordon Brown.
A senior planning judge last month overturned a planning consent granted by Carlisle City Council to redevelop the airport on the grounds that viability forecasts were defective.
Stobart Group intends to submit another planning application.
Flybe scraps flights to Cologne from Southend Airport after Ryanair starts route from Stansted
Tuesday 15th April 2014
FLYBE has cancelled flights from Southend to Cologne after only a week as rival Ryanair announced flights from Stansted. It feared losing passengers to Ryanair. Stobart Air, whose fleet Flybe uses in Southend, is trying to find a replacement or increase capacity on existing routes after claiming it would double the number of passengers using Southend Airport to more than two million in two years. Cologne, Germany’s fourth largest city, was the best-known of six new routes Flybe announced from Southend on Thursday, April 3, and flights were due to start on June 5. But the regional carrier jettisoned the route on Thursday after Ryanair revealed it would start 28 flights a week between Cologne and north Essex from October 28. The Echo understands Ryanair was planning Cologne flights well before Flybe announced the route, but Flybe’s decision to shelve the new destination was purely down to fears over competition from its rival. Flybe’s other new flights, to Rennes and Caen in northern France, Munster in Germany, Antwerp in Belgium and Groningen in the Netherlands, are still available. http://www.echo-news.co.uk/news/11147164.Flybe_cancels_flights_from_Southend_Airport/
Southend airport hopes it will reach 2 million passengers per year by 2015, up from below 1 million in 2013
Southend Airport is now expecting to carry 2 million passengers by 2015 – five years earlier than originally planned. It had said, only two months earlier, that it would reach 2 million passengers per year by 2020. Passenger numbers at Southend were 970,000 in 2013 and are predicted to be 1.3 million this year. By contrast, before the arrival of easyJet, there were some 42,000 passengers in 2011. A £10m extension to the airport terminal was formally opened by the Transport Secretary Patrick McLoughlin in February 2014. The extension marks the end of a £120m revamp by the Stobart Group, which bought the airport in 2008. The growth in numbers of flights has caused a lot more noise for local residents now finding themselves over-flown. The local community group, SAEN, say they will continue to oppose the airport’s expansion plans, due to the noise nuisance – and particularly if the airport tries to alter its operating hours. There is also more road congestion, as the airport is only served by one small road.
Southend Airport: Flybe to start 6 new routes to Northern Europe
25 March 2014
Another airline has announced it is to start flying out of London Southend Airport. The airport has signed a deal with Flybe to create six new routes to Northern Europe. The destinations will be revealed next month. The deal is expected to bring 60 new jobs and 200,000 extra passengers to the airport. http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-england-essex-26733977
Stobart Group sells stake in its truck brand to focus on biomass energy and Southend Airport
March 7, 2014
Stobart Group is to sell a controlling interest in its trucking business to the Isle of Man investment firm DBAY in a £280million deal. Stobart Group will sell a majority stake in Eddie Stobart Logistics to focus on biomass energy and expanding Southend Airport. Stobart will get £195.6million in cash from DBAY, as well as a 49% stake in the new company. William Stobart will head the new business and will own 6% of it. Markets gave the deal the thumbs down, sending shares down 7.75p to 141.75p. The sale includes a complex arrangement under which DBAY can use the Eddie Stobart brand for 4 years without paying. Then it can either buy the brand for use only in transport and logistics for £15million, pay £50million to use the brand however it wishes, or can pay £3million a year to license it. Stobart believes the trucking business has little room for growth and is selling it to focus on fast-growing Southend Airport and get into biomass generation. It believes the airport can increase passengers from 1 million a year to 5 million without much more investment. Click here to view full story…