The planned sale of Stobart Air to an Isle of Man firm has been thrown into doubt after issues have emerged over the buyer’s financing arrangements.
Stobart Air, which operates Aer Lingus regional flights on a franchise basis, was due to be sold to Ettyl, a start-up led by 26-year-old self-styled entrepreneur Jason Scales, for an initial outlay of just £2, rising to £7.5 million in 2024 depending on performance.
Scales has no track record in aviation.
The transaction, which also included the sale of Carlisle Airport, was due to be completed in early May and was subject to change of control and bank facility consents. The bank facility consent was obtained, said Stobart Air’s UK owner Esken, but the change of control consents are “taking longer to conclude,” according to Esken.
In a statement, Esken said: “Esken has become aware that Ettyl’s proposed financing for the transaction is no longer available and understands that Ettyl is progressing discussions with another potential financing source.
“Esken is investigating these matters and seeking further information, including with regard to the impact this may have on the ability of Ettyl to finance the transaction and obtaining the change of control consents required in order to complete the transaction.
“Esken is discussing this matter with its lending banks given banking facility consent for the sale has been obtained.”
Stobart Air has a contract to operate Aer Lingus Regional services until the end of 2022, after which it is likely to be operated by Conor McCarthy’s Emerald Airlines.