CityJet, the Dublin-based Irish regional airline, wants to increase the size of its fleet in preparation for a post-pandemic recovery in Europe. This airline focuses on charter flights and the wet leasing of aircraft meant for larger airlines.
Since August 2020, CityJet has been operating wet-lease services on behalf of Scandinavian Airlines from its hub located at Copenhagen Airport, Kastrup (CPH).
A wet lease is an arrangement whereby one airline, which is a lessor, agrees to use its aircraft and crew on behalf of another airline, which is the lessee. In that context, the lessor is responsible for the insurance and maintenance of the plane and is normally compensated by the lessee based on the plane’s operational hours.
Based on CityJet CEO Pat Byrne, the wet-lease specialist gets involved in talks with up to five different Europe-based airlines.
CityJet Aims To Add 5-10 Aircraft To Its Fleet
As airlines throughout the world emerge from what has been the biggest downturn in aviation history, some of the more prominent European airlines are struggling to fill seats on some routes.
The issue affecting them is that the planes that they operate are quite big for passenger demand. For instance, a Boeing 737-800 operated by Ryanair carries 189 passengers while an EasyJet Airbus A320 has a capacity of 180 seats.
CityJet’s fleet of 12 Bombardier CRJ-900s hase just 88 seats. That makes it a better option for the shorter routes where the demand is significantly low to warrant the use of big aircraft like an Airbus A320 and a Boeing 737. The CRJ comes in handy since it is also low on fuel burn.
While speaking to the Irish daily paper the Independent about CityJet’s aim to buy more planes, Byrne stated:
“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.”
CityJet Laid Off 800 Staff
The airline’s talk of fleet expansion and new business options comes after the pandemic forced CityJet to lay off up to 800 employees as it went into examinership. Byrne 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 of and on the people in the bases around Europe that we have had to close.
CityJet Retains Its Contract With SAS
This airline is registered in Ireland and its headquarter offices are in Dublin. Today, CityJet has 140 employees but it no longer operates any flights out of the Emerald Isle after losing its contracts with Aer Lingus, France, and several others during the pandemic.
Before the health crisis, CityJet operated a fleet of 34 aircraft. For now, following the examinership, it has been whittled down to 12. On the better side, CityJet managed to hold strongly onto its agreement with SAS and operates flights for the Scandanavian carrier operating out of Copenhagen.
Despite planning to relocate its Dublin offices to a smaller property, Byrne said that CityJet would hire more staff in the coming months.