Published on : Friday, December 28, 2018
CityJet, an Irish regional airline company has agreed to merge with Spanish carrier Air Nostrum in a deal that will create the biggest pan-European regional carrier.
These two companies said they had struck a deal – subject to EU approval – to merge under the umbrella of a new holding company, although they are expected to largely continue operating as separate entities.
City Jet and Air Nostrum will use their combined weight to bid for more contracts to run regional routes for third-party carriers.
CityJet was founded by CEO Pat Byrne in 1993. It operates 44 aircraft from nine European bases, primarily under so-called ‘wet lease’ arrangements for other airlines. Under these aviation agreements, the airlines provide both the aircraft, maintenance and crew for another carrier.
CityJet currently has deals with Air France and Scandinavian airline SAS to provide wet-lease services. CityJet also flies between Dublin and London City Airport, among a handful of other routes, with its own brand. The company has 1,250 staff on its booking. The partner, the larger, Valencia-based Air Nostrum, has 50 aircraft and 1,450 staff operating flights to over 50 airports in 15 countries in Europe and Africa.
Air Nostrum provides both wet lease and dry lease – when an aircraft is supplied without crew or ground staff – services to airlines such as Lufthansa and SAS. It also operates the regional network for Spanish flag carrier Iberia. These airline companies said the combined entity would have annual revenues of around €700 million.
It is noted that CityJet’s recorded revenue of €198 million and a net loss of around €33 million loss in 2016, the most recent year for which accounts are publicly available, on the back of a series of losses in previous years.