Chris Jasper/LONDON

UK cargo and wet-lease specialist Air Foyle is planning to pull out of Irish carrier CityJet, with regional operator Jersey European Airways (JEA) favourite to step into the breach. Air Foyle took control of CityJet earlier this year, but industry sources say the Dublin-based airline "has proved to be a vast drain on management resources".

JEA is one of several airlines believed to be in discussion with Air Foyle, but is the most likely to secure a deal. Like CityJet, it is a British Aerospace 146 operator, and both airlines provide franchise services for Air France. JEA and CityJet are also both active in the Ireland-UK market.

The most likely option would be for JEA to take full control of CityJet. But the airline could alternatively extend its relationship - restricted to the latter's provision of a single wet-lease service for JEA - by other means. JEA is known to be particularly keen to secure maintenance contracts for CityJet's 146s.

Air Foyle has controlled CityJet since it injected £4 million ($6.6 million) into the airline earlier this year. The cash bought it a 50.01% stake, but this effectively became 100% when Air France declined to convert a £2 million investment into an equity holding and a further investor, also due to inject £2 million, failed to materialise. Foyle confirms it is reviewing its commitment to CityJet, but says its passenger plans remain on track.

Source: Flight International