Posted on: 27 September 2018 by Mark Howells
CityJet has signed a sale and lease back transaction with regional aircraft lessor TrueNoord for two Bombardier CRJ900 ERs on 10-year operating lease terms.
Pat Byrne, Cityjet’s CEO, sees the sub-100 seat sector continuing as the mainstay of a combined fleet of the proposed merger between CityJet and Air Nostrum. He commented: “In recent years, operators like CityJet and Air Nostrum have separately taken strategic decisions to expand their respective ACMI offerings. CityJet has hitherto been a scheduled airline with a substantial presence at London City, but we adopted a new business model to focus on ACMI operations.
“We now only operate one remaining scheduled route between Dublin and London City, while all other flights are operated for major European carriers, including SAS, Air France, Hop! and Brussels Airlines. Our fleet has now grown to 46 aircraft providing greater scale and serving a more diversified customer base.
“Europe is catching up with the US in terms of operating the ACMI model in regional aircraft support – the next few years will see larger contracts coming onto the market and we intend to have the right fleet, in terms of aircraft type and size, to meet expanding demand. These two CRJ900s from TrueNoord are part of that strategy.”
Anne-Bart Tieleman, TrueNoord’s CEO, said: “These are the first CRJ900s for TrueNoord – and the aircraft type is in line with our ultimate vision and long-term plan to build up a strong portfolio of young regional aircraft types with a good global spread and leased to first class operators.
“The merger announcement made at Farnborough 2018 by Air Nostrum and CityJet is indicative of how the regional aviation landscape in Europe will change over the coming years. If approved, this combination will create Europe’s largest airline with a specific focus on ACMI (aircraft, crew, maintenance and insurance) capacity provision, and with a merged fleet of almost 100 aircraft, the fusion of CityJet and Air Nostrum will create the first European supplier that starts to approach the scale of its North American counterparts.”
The transaction was partly financed by a recent term loan warehouse facility underwritten by NORD/LB, Morgan Stanley and Barclays. Legal advice was provided by Hogan Lovells for TrueNoord and Allen & Overy for CityJet. Norton Rose and Clifford Chance advised on the financing side of the transaction.
TrueNoord is supported with investment from Bregal Freshstream, BlackRock and Aberdeen Asset Management.