Air France orders strategic review of CityJet
CITYJET CHIEF executive Christine Ourmières has confirmed to The Irish Times that its parent company, Air France KLM, has appointed advisers to evaluate strategic options for the Swords-based airline.
She said this included seeking a “compatible investor partner” for CityJet, which was taken over by Air France in 2000.
“That is one of the options that will be studied but it is too early in the process to say which option will be chosen,” Ms Ourmières said. “There are many options on the table. We shall see what is best for the group.”
She said there was “no doubt” that CityJet had the support of Air France but that its parent group had decided to review all options for the airline.
It was recently decided not to include CityJet in a major group-wide restructuring of Air France, including its regional subsidiaries.
“We need to further deploy CityJet as a challenger-type brand,” Ms Ourmières said.
CityJet is currently in the middle of its own restructuring. In February it launched a redundancy programme that is likely to see about 100 staff leave the airline on voluntary severance by the end of November.
This represents about 10 per cent of its employees.
The airline is also in the fourth year of a pay freeze and it has restructured its fleet and made changes to its flight schedules to achieve efficiencies and help the airline return to profitability.
Ms Ourmières said the cost-reduction plan is aimed at achieving savings of €10 million a year.
She added that CityJet would not make a profit this year but her hope was that the airline could return to the black in 2013.
“The full impact will be next year,” she said.
CityJet’s latest accounts show that it made a loss of €54.9 million in the year to the end of March 2011. That compared with a loss of €51.5 million in the previous year.
It carried 2.3 million passengers in fiscal 2011, a year-on-year increase of 10.5 per cent.
Ms Ourmières said CityJet had benefited from a recent easing in the cost of fuel and the strengthening of sterling against the euro.
While based in Dublin, CityJet’s main hub is London City Airport, where it is the largest carrier.
“A strong sterling is always good news for us,” she said.