CityBird is expanding its short-haul fleet with Belgium's first Boeing 737-800 just as the Brussels-based charter airline reached preliminary agreement with the airframe manufacturer to take back three Boeing MD-11s it had on lease.


Three -800s will be leased through Boullioun Aviation, with the first flown from Seattle to Brussels immediately following delivery on 27 April. A further three aircraft are due from GECAS in the next three months. The aircraft will be used to expand CityBird's charter routes, which are mainly contracted by tour operators including Neckermann, Sunsnacks and Pegase, part of Lufthansa's C&N Touristic. The carrier operates variants of the 737.

CityBird's deal for the early return of three MD-11s leased from Boeing will cost $42 million over 10 years. Belgian flag-carrier Sabena, which had wet-leased two of the aircraft, will pay BFr1.1bn- BFr1.5bn ($24.3m-$33.2bn) to compensate for ending the deal two years early. Sabena has cut loss-making routes on which the aircraft were used. CityBird lost BFr2.5bn last year.

Source: Flight International