EUjet to fly scheduled ops from Manston, eyes rapid growth

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Shannon-based operator EUjet has signed a conditional agreement with airport owner PlaneStation Group with a view to launching scheduled services from Manston airport in Kent this summer.

Under the agreement EUjet – which specialises in wet-lease and charter flight services - will make Manston its UK base and plans to rapidly develop a scheduled network. It hopes to carry 300,000 passengers from the Kent airport by the end of the first full year of operation and 2 million annually after three years.

In a stock market statement, PlaneStation says: “EUjet is currently negotiating arrangements with other airports intended to form part of the EUjet route structure.

“It is envisaged that there will be flights to and from a number of airports in Ireland, the UK and European destinations. It is anticipated that by the end of this year 29 routes will be served from Kent International Airport.”

An EUjet spokeswoman says the carrier will not reveal planned routes until the network is finalised in April. The carrier hopes to operate its first scheduled flight under the initiative on 14 June.

The statement does not specify aircraft type for the scheduled services, but EUjet is already teamed with Debis AirFinance to use the lessor’s Fokker 100s on its services.

PlaneStation adds: “EUjet has appointed Rothschild as financial advisor and is in the process of raising additional capital to allow the company to expand over the next three years.”

EUjet CEO PJ McGoldrick – a former Ryanair executive - compares the choice of Manston with the Irish carrier’s selection of London Stansted.

“I foresee a similar opportunity at Kent International Airport Manston and I am confident that the agreement will be the basis on which a bright future will be built for both Manston and EUjet,” he says.

EUjet’s selection of Manston is a boost to PlaneStation. Formerly known as Wiggins Group, the company recently secured key refinancing enabling its to press ahead with its network of regional airports.

PlaneStation CEO Oliver Iny says: “This deal will be earnings enhancing for the PlaneStation Group and is the first of several airlines we expect will be flying from this airport.”