STOBART Group chief executive Andrew Tinkler has taken over as chairman of its aviation subsidiary Stobart Air.

Mr Tinkler, who remains chief executive of Stobart Group, has moved to fill the void left by the sudden departure of former Ryanair executive Tim Jeans who became chairman only six months ago.

in-Cumbria reported in December that Stobart Group and the investment house Invesco were looking to sell their 85 per cent stake in Stobart Air, which operates Aer Lingus Regional services.

They are also thought to be considering a merger of Stobart Air with the Irish carrier CityJet.

Stobart Air is lined up to start scheduled flights from Carlisle Airport. It hopes to begin twice-daily services to London Southend, plus daily flights to Belfast and Dublin, later this year.

The routes are among five to share a £7m start-up subsidy for new services from regional airports, announced in the Autumn Statement.