A hearing at the High Court of Ireland has appointed Deloitte Ireland as liquidator to Stobart Air (RE, Dublin Int'l) and addressed the issue of wage arrears for 38 of the bankrupt Aer Lingus Regional operator’s now-redundant employees, the Irish Times reported on July 6.

Justice Miriam O’Regan appointed Declan Fennell and Mark Degnan, partners at Deloitte Ireland, to oversee the liquidation process and advised a representative of the former employees to settle the matter of non-payment of salaries and other dues via the liquidators.

The representative, Louis Owens, who had been a data protection officer at Stobart Air, told the judge that as he and his colleagues were now unemployed, they could not afford legal representation. But they wanted to see a full review of the airline’s ownership structure, he said, as they had been told while employed that they owned 51% of the company through a benefit trust.

Stobart Air’s British parent Esken had made legally binding statements to pay back wages, according to Owens, but nothing had yet been paid. He asked for the liquidation application to be adjourned or for the court to make it a creditors’ liquidation, forcing Esken to pay the former staff.

A lawyer acting for Stobart Air said he had received no instructions related to the payment of wages, as this was a matter of contract, while the liquidators proposed reverting the employees’ claims through Ireland’s Department of Social Protection.

The judge said that the issue should be resolved through communication between the employees and the liquidators. It would be in no one’s interest to delay the liquidation process. She ordered the company directors to file statements of affairs to Degnan and Fennell within three weeks.

Stobart Air employed 480 people, 152 of them directly, according to the Irish Times. It sustained EUR19.2 million euros (USD22.7 million) in lost revenue in 2020 due to the pandemic, causing a EUR37 million (USD43.8 million) loss. It ceased trading on June 11, 2021, after its sale to Ettyl collapsed.

As recently reported, Aer Lingus Regional aircraft could resume operations by October as Emerald Airlines (Ireland) works towards obtaining its air operator’s certificate (AOC) and operating licence (OL) by September. Aer Lingus named Emerald as preferred bidder last November, and the final contracts are expected to be signed soon. However, Ireland’s government may announce a public service obligation (PSO) tender for an interim operator for the domestic public service obligation routes, previously operated by Stobart, over a seven-month period.