Spanish carrier Air Nostrum is poised to partner with Irish counterpart CityJet to create a new European regional airline group.
The deal, announced on July 17 during the Farnborough International Airshow, will see the carriers merge under the umbrella of a new holding company but retaining their separate identities. This, Air Nostrum CEO Carlos Bertomeu said, will enable the airlines to pool their assets and expertise to bid for wet-leasing business on the Continent.
CityJet’s executive chairman Pat Byrne added: “By coming together, we believe we will be in a position to respond to the specific needs of customer airlines through our flexibility in the provision of safe, dependable and quality-assured operations.”
The shareholding of the two parties – which will offer a combined fleet of almost 100 aircraft, the majority of which are Bombardier CRJs – in the new entity is still “to be defined”.
Byrne foresees that the combined airline will make “tactical use” of its various air operator certificates (AOCs) – planned to be either “three or four in total” – for “specific missions or specific customers”, matching AOCs and their incumbent aircraft to third-party operators as required.
The tie-up remains subject to regulatory approval but is expected to be concluded by the end of this year.