Stobart Air, which operates the Aer Lingus regional service, has been bought by Isle of Man-based Ettyl.

"Stobart Air is pleased that this transaction is now concluded and a new owner of the airline is in place," a statement from the company said.

"This transaction is a significant testament to, and endorsement of, the value Ettyl see in our airline, in our product, in the service we provide and importantly, in our people," it added.

Stobart Air said that under new ownership, it is now well positioned to embrace new opportunities as markets return and economies begin to recover from the impact of the Covid pandemic.

"Given the role we play and the service we provide in franchise flying and delivering regional connectivity, there is significant opportunity for growth and network development as we continue to operate the existing Aer Lingus Regional franchise through to 31 December 2022," it added.

Stobart Air has held the Aer Lingus Regional contract for ten years.

However, there remains doubt over the future of the contract, amid reports that Aer Lingus is in exclusive negotiations with Emerald Airlines, controlled by businessman Conor McCarthy, with a view to it taking over the running of the Aer Lingus Regional service after 2022.

Due to Covid-19, Stobart Air is currently flying a limited schedule that includes public service obligation routes to Dublin from Donegal and Kerry. It is also flying some services out of Belfast.

Last year Stobart Air reduced its workforce due to the impact of Covid-19 on travel.

Esken, the aviation and energy infrastructure group which owned Stobart Air, also said today it was selling the Carlisle Lake District Airport to Ettyl.