Aer Lingus to take over CityJet’s route to London City airport
CityJet will operate Dublin-London service on behalf of Aer Lingus under wet lease deal
CityJet CEO Pat Byrne and Aer Lingus CEO Stephen Kavanagh
CityJet will operate its Dublin to London City Airport service on behalf of Aer Lingus under a new deal that will see the airline swap its brand for that of the larger carrier.
The two airlines announced a partnership on Tuesday under which Aer Lingus will take over the Dublin-London City services, but will use CityJet craft and crew to fly the route.
The venture means that CityJet will no longer offer scheduled services under its own brand, focusing instead on flying routes under contract to other airlines and on its charter business.
Pat Byrne, CityJet’s chief executive, explained that the airline had transferred the London City route to Aer Lingus.
“We are going to operate the route for Aer Lingus under contract with our aircraft, our crew and our engineering,” he said.
The deal, known as a wet lease, means that Aer Lingus sells the tickets and pays CityJet an agreed sum from the revenues that it collects.
Dublin-London City has been a key route for CityJet, which has maintained the service throughout several changes of ownership and shifts in its fortunes.
International Consolidated Airlines Group-owned Aer Lingus will take over the service from October 28th, operating six daily round trips from Dublin to London City Airport on weekdays, with a reduced service at the weekend.
With prices starting from €49.99, the airline says it will provide “competitive travel options”, but a reduced number of operators on the Dublin-London route will mean less competition for passengers, which in turn can lead to higher prices. The deal, for example, means that Aer Lingus will now operate 50 flights daily between Dublin and London.
Aer Lingus chief executive Stephen Kavanagh said the new route would boost business traffic and provide those wishing to travel from London to the US with an attractive connection via Dublin that included US customs and immigration pre-clearance.
The agreement with Aer Lingus is part of a new strategic focus for CityJet, which has had a number of owners in recent years, including Air France, before a consortium including Mr Byrne bought it back.
“In recent years we have transitioned CityJet from being an airline serving scheduled markets under its own brand into becoming a provider of capacity to customer airlines throughout Europe, ” said Mr Byrne.
Moving to such a strategy allows CityJet to fly without risk, as its revenues will have been agreed under such deals, and won’t be subject to passenger bookings.
CityJet has similar arrangements with other European airlines including KLM. It also runs the Dublin-Paris route for Air France.
CityJet previously operated other routes in Ireland, including flights to London City Airport and La Rochelle from Cork, but it’s understood that it hasn’t ruled out bringing back its own branded flights to Ireland should it see opportunities to do so.
The decision means that travellers who had booked to travel with CityJet have now been informed that their flight will be with Aer Lingus, while those looking to book the route, which lands in the heart of London, will do so via aerlingus.com.
If you have booked to travel after October 28th, CityJet says that you can opt to get an immediate refund if you so wish; otherwise, Aer Lingus will provide a new booking itinerary by October 1st.
The change also means different flight times. For example, CityJet used to operate a route departing at 8.40am and arriving at 10.15am. This has now changed to a departure time of 7.30am, with an arrival time of 9.10am.
CityJet employs almost 1,300 people and has a fleet of 45 aircraft flying on more than 200 routes across Europe from its crew bases in Amsterdam, Brussels, Copenhagen, Dublin, Helsinki, London, Paris, Stockholm, Tallinn and Vilnius.