Stobart Air, formerly Aer Arann, has announced it has signed a new deal with Flybe to fly six routes to continental Europe out of London's Southend airport. 

The 50 jobs created will be at Southend airport, bringing the airline's total workforce to 420.

As part of a five year deal, Stobart will operate Flybe-branded planes on six routes from June. The new routes are expected to carry 100,000 passengers this year, rising to 200,000 next year.

Last week it was announced the Aer Arann name will go and the airline will be renamed Stobart Air. The airline aims to double its passenger numbers to under three million within five years. 

The Flybe deal is Stobart Air's second franchise flying partnership. It signed a ten year franchise deal in 2012 with Aer Lingus, which sees it operating Irish and UK services under the Aer Lingus Regional brand. 

"Each of the six new routes are strong locations, keen to secure a London connection. London Southend Airport, with its convenience and quick access to London, will resonate with business and leisure passengers, as will our competitive fares," commented Stobart Air's interim chief executive Sean Brogan.

Mr Brogan said the airline's aim is to become a specialist in franchise flying and broaden its reach into new markets. 

"Deals with Aer Lingus and now Flybe represents real progress in a short period of time. Airlines and passengers are responding to our product. We have set a target of two million passengers by 2016 and believe this is achievable," he added.