Ryanair to open new base at Southend airport

Ryanair flights warning ATC strike

Ryanair flights warning ATC strike

Stobart Group, the owner of Southend Airport, today sought to woo investors supporting a boardroom coup by signing a $300m (£225m) deal with Ryanair.

The Essex hub will be the point of departure to eight countries on 16 routes, including Barcelona, Corfu, Milan and Venice.

The airline said it will base three planes in Southend and will operate over 55 flights a week from the airport.

Ryanair is opening a new base in Britain - in an apparent U-turn after warning that Brexit would be a disaster for the United Kingdom and the country's airline industry. Stobart also operates some franchised routes for United Kingdom carrier Flybe.

But it had struggled to generate the momentum required to make Southend a real contender.

Last year, Stobart, whose CEO is former EasyJet executive Warwick Brady, said it hoped to handle 2.5 million passengers at Southend in 2018.

Southend handled 1.09 million passengers past year, and 874,000 in 2016.

Stobart Group was up 11.2 per cent, or 26.5p, at 263p.

Ryanair said that its new services from Southend will add an expected one million passengers a year at the airport.

"This agreement demonstrates that we now have the right team, skill set and strategy in place to deliver on our stated ambitions". In recent weeks he has demanded chairman Iain Ferguson steps down.