Ci­tyJet lost €30m last year as air­line ex­panded

The Irish Times - Business - - Business This Week | News - BARRY O’HAL­LO­RAN

Ci­tyJet lost €30 mil­lion last year as the air­line ex­panded and in­vested in new air­craft to meet the de­mands of new busi­ness.

The Ir­ish car­rier has switched its fo­cus from sched­uled ser­vices to wet leas­ing, pro­vid­ing craft and crew to fly ser­vices on be­half of other air­lines.

The com­pany has said that it lost €30.2 mil­lion be­fore tax in 2016, driven by a once-off cost of €8.4 mil­lion, mostly from buy­ing new air­craft, and a for­eign ex­change loss on fi­nanc­ing of €13.1 mil­lion.

Rev­enues rose 20 per cent to €198.2 mil­lion last year from €165.1 mil­lion the pre­vi­ous year. Ci­tyJet’s op­er­a­tions – its day-to-day busi­ness – lost €1.8 mil­lion.

Speak­ing after it pub­lished its results, ex­ec­u­tive chair­man Pat Byrne said that Ci­tyJet ex­pected cash flows to strengthen next year. “We should have prof­its worth writ­ing home about in 2019,” he added.

This year’s fig­ures will re­flect con­tri­bu­tions from Blue1, the Fin­nish ri­val Ci­tyJet bought in 2016, and Cim­ber, the Dan­ish car­rier it pur­chased in Jan­uary. Along with the ac­qui­si­tions, the air­line has been buy­ing new craft – the Bom­bardier CRJ900 and Sukhoi SSJ100.

It now has 34 craft fly­ing re­gional routes for SAS, Brus­sels Air­lines, Air France and KLM .

New cus­tomer

Mr Byrne said that the car­rier hoped to sign a con­tract to pro­vide wet leases with a new cus­tomer in 2018 and to ex­pand ex­ist­ing deals by the end of this year.

Wet leas­ing cuts the risk for Ci­tyJet, as its part­ners have to sell the seats on the flights and cover fuel costs, while the Ir­ish car­rier pro­vides the craft, crew and main­te­nance. Mr Byrne said it was row­ing back on sched­uled ser­vices, which would ul­ti­mately amount to only 15 per cent of its busi­ness.

Ci­tyJet now em­ploys 1,250 peo­ple, up from an av­er­age of 812 peo­ple last year and 506 in 2015.

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