Ireland-based capacity provider Stobart Air—the airline involved in an attempted Virgin Atlantic-led takeover of UK regional operator Flybe—has won a contract to operate flights to Amsterdam Schiphol on behalf of KLM Cityhopper.

The move is interesting because Air France-KLM has agreed to acquire a 31% stake in Virgin Atlantic, which is seeking to boost feeder traffic to its long-haul network through its proposed acquisition of Flybe.

Stobart Air is owned by Stobart Group, one of the members of the Connect Airways consortium vying for control of Flybe, and the intention is for Stobart Air’s operations to eventually be folded into the Connect Airways group.

In a Feb. 4 statement, Stobart Air said it had agreed to provide an Embraer E195 jet on an aircraft, crew, maintenance and insurance basis to operate up to eight flights a day for KLM Cityhopper from Amsterdam.

“The addition of our new partner is testament to the success of our business model in providing regional flying capacity to leading international airlines,” Stobart Air managing director Graeme Buchanan said.

Stobart Air also operates 25 routes throughout Ireland, the UK and France under the Air Lingus Regional brand, as well as Flybe services from London Southend Airport and the Isle of Man. The carrier entered another franchise agreement in November which will see it operate routes from London City Airport under the British Airways CityFlyer brand.

It emerged this week that Andrew Tinkler—the former CEO of Stobart Group who was dismissed by the board in June 2018 and is currently embroiled in a legal dispute with the company—is attempting to halt the acquisition of Flybe by Connect Airways with a preliminary rival proposal of his own.

Kerry Reals, kerry@realsreporting.com