VLM to expand charter business

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CityJet’s Belgian subsidiary VLM Airlines is aiming to double its wet-lease and charter activities over the next year.

Irish based BAE Systems Avro RJ85 operator CityJet and VLM – which has 12 Fokker 50 turboprops – are being repositioned as independent after the carriers’ sale by former parent Air France-KLM to German turnaround specialist Intro Aviation was completed on 30 April.

CityJet will remain VLM’s “main customer” and thus utilise half of the Fokker 50 fleet, said VLM managing director Arthur White at a media briefing in London on 1 May. But he adds that VLM wants to grow its ACMI and other charter business by “100% over the next 12 months”.

VLM operates as an independent unit under its own AOC within CityJet, with the fleet wholly owned by the group.

As part of Air France-KLM, VLM was able to market a number of aircraft for external charter customers. Now, the available capacity will grow under the new ownership structure, says White.

This could include arrangements where the turboprops operate under other airlines’ branding, he adds