SIXTY new jobs will be created at Southend Airport after the Stobart owners entered into a franchising agreement with Flybe.

The agreement will see two Flybe aircraft based at the airport, creating six new routes to Northern Europe which are expected to carry more than 200,000 passengers in 2015.

Flybe, Europe’s largest independent regional airline, joins easyJet and Aer Lingus at the airport which catered for nearly one million passengers in 2013 as it continues to grow.

Andrew Tinkler, chief executive of Stobart Group, said: “This agreement is a further step in our development of London Southend Airport and Stobart Air. “It promises to be the start of an exciting relationship with Flybe, with scope to grow the partnership in the future.

“Adding to the number of carriers and routes at London Southend Airport drives passenger volumes and contributes to cementing the airport as an established transport hub in the South East.”

The Stobart Group has already ploughed more than £120million of investment into the airport since it bought it in 2008, including the latest phase of extension to the terminal building, which opened in February.

Saad Hammad, chief executive of Flybe, said: “We are delighted to be extending the Flybe brand further into the South-East.

“Today’s news is also further evidence of our commitment to providing true regional connectivity across the UK and we look forward to unveiling a major programme of new base and route development over the coming months.”

The new routes, which have yet to be fully detailed, will begin flying on June 5 this year, with tickets going on sale from April, 3 at