CityJet close to securing 15 new aircraft in €270m deal

Under agreement with CityJet, Falko will buy aircraft and lease them to airline

Minister for Transport Paschal Donohoe (left) with CityJet executive chairman Pat Byrne at Dublin Airport on Friday. Photograph: Naoise Culhane

Minister for Transport Paschal Donohoe (left) with CityJet executive chairman Pat Byrne at Dublin Airport on Friday. Photograph: Naoise Culhane

 

Airline CityJet is close to a €270 million deal to acquire 15 new aircraft as it presses ahead with expansion plans.

Executive chairman Pat Byrne confirmed yesterday that the carrier has been in talks with manufacturers for several months and expects to complete an agreement shortly.

“It’s very close,” he said. “We have been in negotiations with competing manufacturers for the last few months, it’s been a very intense competition and it’s now a matter of weeks.”

Mr Byrne said the airline plans to acquire 15 new aircraft to replace its existing fleet of 90-seater Avro RJ85s and predicted that the cost of them would run to more than $300 million (€270 million).

CityJet has an agreement with aircraft financier Falko, which will purchase the new aircraft and lease them to the airline. The partnership means that neither the carrier nor its parent, Intra Aviation, will have to fund the purchase directly.

Mr Byrne was speaking at the launch of the company’s new brand at its hangar in Dublin Airport yesterday. The airline’s new livery was chosen by its 500 employees.

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Mr Byrne said that, ultimately, its business would be 60 per cent wet leasing and 40 per cent its own routes. The company is close to agreement with a number of major European carriers to provide these services, he said. It already wet leases aircraft to its former parent, Air France.

CityJet is shortly due to begin flying from Cork to London City Airport, where it is one of the biggest airlines.

It is likely to add further services between the airport and European destinations from March next year, the beginning of its summer schedule.

About 70 per cent of its passengers fly between London and the continent.

The airline expects to carry a total of two million passengers this year on its own scheduled services, its wet lease programme with Air France and its charter flights.

It is moving its call centre to Dublin from Mauritius, which will create 15 jobs in Dublin.

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