CityJet to freshen fleet with delivery of 15 new aircraft

CityJet is to take delivery of a fleet of aircraft with a range of up to 3,000km that could open up routes across much of Europe and North Africa to Irish passengers.
CityJet to freshen fleet with delivery of 15 new aircraft

The Irish airline, which has enjoyed a sharp pickup in fortunes since founder Pat Byrne returned to the business early this year, has agreed to take delivery of 15 Superjet SSJ100 passenger aircraft beginning next year.

At current list prices, the aircraft are valued at €900m.

CityJet, however, will lease the aircraft as opposed to buying them outright.

“We are very excited to be the first airline in Europe to order this ‘game-changing’ aircraft that delivers a level of comfort, plush interior design, and cabin capacity that is far superior to all of its competitors.

“This is a very versatile new-generation jet which will fulfil our requirements with a capability to operate at smaller airports such as our hub at London City Airport and offer significant advantages in fuel efficiency, emissions ratings and noise reduction,” Mr Byrne said.

The executive chairman added his intention is to put the aircraft on charter activity in 2016 and use it on its London City route network in 2017.

Speaking to the Irish Examiner last week, Mr Byrne said new routes into parts of Italy would be contingent on securing aircraft with greater range to reach those destinations.

With a range of 3,000km the Superjet aircraft could reach other locations as far away as Athens from Irish airports.

”We’re waiting for our new aircraft; the new-generation aircraft which will be on-stream in 2017 and will have very extended range which you need for some of the Italian destinations. We’d be looking for opportunities for Cork to Italy but it wouldn’t be until 2017,” Mr Byrne said.

CityJet will take delivery of four aircraft next year with the delivery of an additional 11 throughout 2017 as well as taking options on an extra 10 aircraft.

The airline recently announced new routes from Cork to La Rochelle and Nantes, in addition to its newly-launched London City Airport route which began last month.

In addition to its potential Italian expansion, Mr Byrne also identified French airports such as Toulon as possible new destinations which he felt would prove popular with passengers.

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