'We must maintain connectivity': call for hands-on approach to address difficulties in aviation sector

'We must maintain connectivity': call for hands-on approach to address difficulties in aviation sector

Stobart Air informed Aer Lingus on Friday night that it was terminating its franchise agreement and was in the process of appointing a liquidator.

A CORK senator said the loss of Stobart Air has only served to underline uncertainty in an aviation sector already compounded by Covid-19.

Stobart Air had been a long-standing partner of Cork Airport up until the pandemic serving Birmingham, Bristol, Edinburgh, Glasgow, Manchester among other locations for many years. 

However, the regional aviation operator, which operates all regional flights for Aer Lingus across Ireland and the UK, said the funding for a recent takeover announcement was no longer available leading to the firm's insolvency.

Stobart Air informed Aer Lingus on Friday night that it was terminating its franchise agreement and was in the process of appointing a liquidator.

CORK senator Jerry Buttimer said the loss of Stobart Air has only served to underline uncertainty in an aviation sector already compounded by Covid-19.
CORK senator Jerry Buttimer said the loss of Stobart Air has only served to underline uncertainty in an aviation sector already compounded by Covid-19.

Fine Gael Senator Jerry Buttimer acknowledged the difficulties for those who have lost jobs. 

He added that the focus now should be on maintaining connectivity in the aviation sector.

"This underlines the uncertainty in an aviation sector compounded by Covid-19," he said. "It also highlights the need to have the digital green certificate operational and make sure antigen testing is made available. The important thing here is that we examine new routes. There is an absolute need now for the aviation recovery task force to be reestablished.

"It's also important that Eamonn Ryan adopts a hands-on approach to the aviation sector because this is about connectivity. We are an island nation but particularly in Cork-it's important that connectivity is maintained."

He described this as a huge blow to the aviation sector.

"The devastating impact of Covid-19 is again seen with Stobart Air's announcement. In many ways, this is not surprising but it also comes as a further blow from the impact of Covid-19. This illustrates the stark reality of today's aviation sector and reminds us that a clear aviation recovery plan is needed. I know the government have given over €300m in support for the aviation sector but, in saying that, we wish to ensure that connectivity is restored."

Stobart Air's announcement resulted in the cancellation of several flights from Dublin and Belfast City airports to UK cities at the weekend.

Aer Lingus pledged to provide services for a number of its passengers who had been left stranded following the immediate and unexpected closure of the company. 

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