LONDON – Dublin-based regional carrier CityJet has announced that they will be expanding its fleet by up to seven Bombardier CRJ-900 aircraft, which will be valued at around $100 million.
The addition of these planes will ultimately allow the carrier to expand its wet-leasing operation, which is where they provide their own aircraft and crew to operate regional routes on behalf of other carriers in the region.
CityJet confirmed that they are in ongoing talks with other European carriers about providing a similar service.
Wet Leasing Is Key
For the airline’s CEO, Pat Byrne, the wet-leasing market was part of his plan when he re-purchased the airline back from Intro Aviation in 2016, having sold it to Air France previously.
Air France then sold it to Intro Aviation in 2013 before Byrne joined up with leasing company Falko to reacquire the carrier.
And such a proposition is being very successful at the moment, with the Irish carrier winning a second contract with Air France’s regional subsidiary HOP! that is based in Paris-Orly.
Through such contracts, Byrne has clearly emphasized why an aircraft leasing company owning an airline is what he calls “a unique and perfect partnership”. This is also evident with CityJet purchasing SAS’ subsidiary Cimber earlier last year, thus expanding their fleet even further.
CityJet owner Falko has over 100 CRJ-900 aircraft to their name, which was previously used by Cimber for around $10 million per unit. Four aircraft are to be sold on, out of which two have found a customer, being Estonian carrier Nordica.
Ultimately, the carrier has done well in the wet-leasing market, and there are no signs that Byrne wants to stop this approach that he brought to the table in 2016.
It is something that he will continue to do, whilst forging significant relationships with regional carriers across Europe to spread the brand further away from Dublin.