SkyWork returns two Q400s to lessor

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Swiss regional carrier SkyWork Airlines is reducing its fleet size by returning two of its three Bombardier Dash 8 Q400s to a lessor ahead of the summer season.

The Berne-based airline revealed its efficiency improvement programme 'SkyFit 2013plus' in January, saying that it cannot rule out job cuts among its approximately 180 staff members.

The carrier operates three 72-seat Q400s and four 31-seat Dornier 328 turboprops. But two of the Q400s will be returned to the lessor, BTV Leasing Schweiz, as they will not be needed for the summer schedule.

SkyWork says, however, that the aircraft will remain listed under its air operator's certificate (AOC) and can be redeployed on demand at reasonable costs.

BTV owns all three Q400s, according to Flightglobal's Ascend Online database. Four Dornier 328s belong to Centaurium Aviation, while the fifth aircraft is owned by the airline.

The lease-return does not preclude a Q400 retirement from its operations, says SkyWork, but is solely aimed at reducing the company's cost base.

The fleet strategy has not changed as a result of the move, it adds.