Estonia: Regional jet has leased 2 jets to serve sas routes
Regional Jet OU, joint venture of the Estonian state owned airline Nordica and Poland's LOT, has signed a lease for two ATR aircraft to operate routes of the Scandinavian carrier SAS out of Copenhagen under a six-year agreement that will start in August.
In addition, it has concluded preliminary agreements concerning three more aircraft, one of which will serve Nordica's own routes.
"Regional Jet OU has concluded agreements concerning two ATR aircraft and the aircraft have arrived in Tallinn already. Both units have been registered to the air operator certificate of Regional Jet. The aircraft have been leased from the leasing companies Elix Aviation Capital and Castlelake," Toomas Uibo, Chief of Corporate Sales at Nordica, said on Tuesday, June 27.
"As regards the other three aircraft, we have concluded preliminary agreements by now, but any comments concerning the partners can be made only after the main agreements have been signed and the transactions have taken place," he said.
Four of the turboprops will serve short-distance flights of SAS out of Copenhagen and the fifth will serve Nordica's own routes, mainly to Stockholm and St. Petersburg.
"This is a very cost-effective, new and comfortable aircraft that is ideally suited to operate shorter routes. Under conditions of intense competition, this is a suitable addition to Nordica's fleet of aircraft. The service agreement with SAS offered us a good opportunity to take into use this type of aircraft," Uibo said.
The crews of the aircraft serving the SAS routes will be based in Copenhagen and at least for the beginning, will consist of Danes. The length of the agreement with SAS is six years, and the price and the conditions are subject to a review after three years.
SAS announced in December 2016 that it had discontinued cooperation with the carrier Jet Time that used to operate eight ATR72-600S for SAS.
Commenting on the deal with Regional Jet, SAS said in March that it had been working to find a new wet lease operator which can operate SAS' regional services with ATR72S since November 2016, when the agreements with Jet Time were wound up. A number of airlines had been involved in negotiations for the contract, but the choice had fallen on Regional Jet OU on the basis of a number of parameters. Among other things, audits of SAS' quality and compliance monitoring have yielded excellent results, SAS said.
"We have now found the right collaborative partner to take over Jet Time's flights. We look forward to working with Regional Jet OU, which is a competent and reliable partner and a key contribution to our wet lease strategy," Mikael Wangdahl, Vice President for External Production at SAS, said in a press release.
The agreement with Regional Jet spans six years, but can be terminated after three. The four ATR72-600S that will be flying for SAS, in SAS' colors, will be staffed mainly by Copenhagen-based crews on local agreements.
Regional Jet OU was founded in 2015 as an independent company, supplying wet lease services to other companies. The company is 51 per cent owned by Nordic Aviation Group (Nordica) and 49 per cent by LOT Polish Airlines (LOT). Nordic Jet operates three aircraft for LOT and five for Nordica.