The Aer Arann name is set to disappear as the Irish airline plans to rebrand itself as Stobart Air.

In recent years the airline has reinvented itself as a franchise operator, mainly through an agreement that sees it operate the Aer Lingus Regional service.

It now hopes to expand this model by striking further franchise deals with some of Europe's larger players.

The airline's new name comes from the Stobart Group - a transport company perhaps best known for its Eddie Stobart trucks - which is also the largest shareholder in the Irish carrier. It first bought its shareholding in Aer Arann in 2010.

Stobart Air said it aims to become a specialist in franchise or contract flying for major European airlines, and to double its passenger numbers within five years. 

"Today, we operate 27 routes across Ireland, UK and France, with over 1.2 million annual passengers.  Changing the corporate name is the next step in achieving our ambition to further expand our operations. Stobart Air positions the airline to explore new opportunities and add to our franchise network, particularly in the UK and mainland Europe," commented Stobart Air's interim chief executive Sean Brogan.