Established in 1994, CityJet is the largest network operating out of London City airport. Since March, CityJet has introduced five new routes out of London City including Belfast , Geneva, Madrid, Nice and Zurich to complement its long-standing services to Paris Orly and Dublin.

How has the business fared over the past 12 months?

We have made many advancements in terms of routes, staff and aircraft. Last year we invested $221 million in 23 BAE Systems Avro RJ85 regional jets. These carry 95 passengers and are suitable for short runways like those in London City airport. Some of these new aircraft will be used to replace some older BAe 146s that have served the company and its passengers so well for so many years. With the new aircraft coming on stream, we were then able to expand our services from London City.

What kind of passengers use CityJet?

Our service is aimed at the corporate passenger, but our flights are not filled only with people in suits going to meetings. There is also a strong market for leisure passengers who are not necessarily interested in looking for "the cheapest flight" as offered by low-cost airlines, but want a premium service and a schedule that gets them to and from the major cities in Europe at times that suit in the mornings and evenings.

As a regional airline, is it a challenge to recruit the right people?

We have grown our staff steadily since I took over as chief executive in 1999, and now employ more than 650 people, drawn from 46 different nationalities. About 85% of our staff are in operational roles such as pilots, and it is a challenge to compete with the bigger legacy carriers for applicants. There is a market shortage of pilots and with such strong competition, especially from the Middle East, we have to work very hard to get the right people in place.

What does the future hold for CityJet?

We will continue to build our business. We believe that as peace has been brought to Northern Ireland, so too has the opportunity for the people of the province to attract new businesses and new visitors to the towns and cities. So we believe that the London City- Belfast route will grow in the coming year and I have no doubt that we will be expanding the routes to and from Belfast as well as other major cities.

What attributes have allowed the company to reach its current position?

We are not interested in entering the "low-cost" market. We have very much focused on our target market of corporate passengers travelling to the major cities in Europe and invested in delivering a high-quality service every year, both for new and returning passengers.


Source: Flight International