Stobart Air to operate six Southend routes for Flybe

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Stobart Air will start six new routes from London Southend airport on Flybe’s behalf later this year – the fruition of a new franchise agreement that was signed by the two carriers last week.

The Irish regional carrier, which was formerly known as Air Arann, will begin weekly services to Rennes in France, Groningen in the Netherlands and German city Munster Osnabruck from 5 June and services to Cologne Bonn in Germany, French city Caen and Antwerp in Belgium starting on 3 July.

Stobart Air says it will operate a total of 102 weekly flights once the schedule is fully operational and predicts it will carry 200,000 passengers in its first year of operations rising to 700,000 within three years. The partnership deal covers 10 years.

The new routes fit into both airline’s strategies with Flybe seeking a way back into the London market after selling its Gatwick slots to EasyJet and Stobart Air's objective to “become a specialist in franchise or contract flying for major European airlines".