Stobart Air (RE, Dublin Int'l) is said to be evaluating the possibility of opening a base on the Isle of Man, the Irish Independent has reported. The company is the operator of Aer Lingus Regional flights, which are predominantly flown to the UK.

When asked to comment on the news, a Stobart Air spokesperson offered an indirect response to ch-aviation: "Like all businesses, we are assessing the impact of this pandemic on our airline and are focusing on the future, considering our post-COVID operations and evaluating opportunities for the business."

One potential stumbling block for the Dublin-based carrier is that Aer Lingus (EI, Dublin Int'l) is unsupportive of the move, leaving Stobart Air with the task of implementing a new separate passenger services system for its Isle of Man services.

According to the ch-aviation capacities module, for the week commencing July 20, the Isle of Man will be served by just four carriers, following the demise of flybe. earlier this year. easyJet is the largest carrier on the island with 74% of weekly seats, followed by British Airways (14%), Aer Lingus (9%) and Loganair (3%). It is believed Stobart Air and its Stobart Group owner have tapped the Isle of Man government for support, presumably as the airport looks to fill the capacity gap left by flybe.

Stobart Air operates a fleet of 18 aircraft, consisting of one ATR42-600, fifteen ATR72-600s, and two E190s. The airline's biggest Irish operations are at Dublin Int'l and Cork airports, with services to 11 destinations in the UK, including the Isle of Man.