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CityJet Planning Substantial Fleet Expansion

Published on Oct 27 2021 1:00 PM in General Industry tagged: CityJet / SAS / COVID-19 / Irish aviation sector

CityJet Planning Substantial Fleet Expansion

According to The Irish Independent, Dublin-based airline CityJet is planning a substantial fleet expansion as it prepares for new opportunities in Europe's post-COVID-19 pandemic aviation sector. T...

According to The Irish Independent, Dublin-based airline CityJet is planning a substantial fleet expansion as it prepares for new opportunities in Europe's post-COVID-19 pandemic aviation sector.

The airline, which reportedly operates so-called wet-leasing services on behalf of larger airlines, is reportedly in talks with as many as five different airlines around Europe to operate routes on their behalf and expects to add between five and 10 new aircraft, CityJet CEO Pat Byrne reportedly confirmed.

CityJet Competitive Advantage

Byrne reportedly reportedly said that bigger carriers that are struggling to fill larger Boeing and Airbus aircraft on certain routes are increasingly interested in lowering costs by operating the smaller Bombardier CRJ regional jets operated by CityJet.

Byrne reportedly said that Cityjet's CRJ fleet had a major competitive advantage in a rising fuel price environment because the jet has very low fuel burn.

Byrne reportedly said, "We've found ourselves in a niche almost by default. We are seeing an understanding by the legacy carriers that regional jets are actually a very good tactical weapon. We anticipate opportunities arising so we are getting five to 10 more CRJs and, more long term, also potentially looking at three to five Embraer aircraft, although that is not as certain."

The fleet expansion and potential new business reportedly comes after a dark period for the airline that saw it pushed into examinership by the collapse in air travel, reportedly forcing it to let go up to 800 staff.

Byrne reportedly told The Sunday Independent, "It has been very rough. It's been very rough on the people in Dublin that we have had to let go and on the people in the bases around Europe that we have had to close."

Byrne reportedly said that the four-and-a-half month examinership process had been difficult, and, "It has been a question of keeping the faith and keeping the head and working our way through very dark days. At one stage we were down to flying just four airplanes. But we've managed to come through the examinership smaller but stronger, with a far better balance sheet and free of debt. Our intention all the time was to survive because we believed there would be a lot fewer regional carriers around like us when this is all over. So there are fewer players pursuing the opportunities that are now out there."

Post-COVID Future

CityJet is registered as an Irish airline and is headquartered in Dublin.

It reportedly employs 140 staff in Ireland but no longer operates any flights out of Ireland after reportedly losing contracts with Aer Lingus, Air France and others when the pandemic hit.

Its last remaining customer for which it operates flights is reportedly SAS and its pre-pandemic fleet of 34 aircraft has reportedly been reduced to 12.

Byrne reportedly, "We have been ramping up slowly again with SAS and we anticipate that our fleet will rise to 15 aircraft in November and increase again with them for next summer. We're in dialogue with other airlines in Europe as well as they pull out of their hibernation."

Byrne reportedly said that expansion would see more jobs added in Dublin but that it has plans to move to a smaller office here in the new year.

Byrne reportedly said, "We're hiring crews now for the ramp-up process that is under way with SAS and we are also hiring crews too for what we anticipate are the opportunities that are out there.

"There is an element at the moment of trying to win back some lost business from before but most of what we are looking at will be genuinely new business we haven't had before."

© 2021 Hospitality Ireland – your source for the latest industry news. Article by Conor Farrelly. Click subscribe to sign up for the Hospitality Ireland print edition.

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