Air Nostrum and CityJet are combining to create a new European regional airline group.
Speaking during a press conference at the Farnborough air show today, Air Nostrum chief executive Carlos Bertomeu said that the two airlines would, under the umbrella of a new holding company, use their combined assets and expertise to pitch for wet-leasing business from European airlines.
"By coming together, we believe we will be in a position to respond to the specific needs of customer airlines through our flexibility in the provision of safe, dependable and quality-assured operations," says Pat Byrne, chief executive of Irish operator CityJet.
The shareholdings of the two parties in the holding company is "yet to be defined", Bertomeu says. Byrne stresses that he himself will "absolutely" remain a shareholder.
Cathal O'Connell, CityJet's chief commercial officer, says the two carriers will operate a combined fleet of almost 100 aircraft and employ a staff 2,600. Its gross annual revenues will be around €700 million ($820 million).
Byrne foresees that the combined airline will make "tactical use" of its various air operator certificates (AOCs) for "specific missions or specific customers". The combined group will hold three or four AOCs, he indicates.
The airlines hope to gain regulatory approval and close the agreement by the end of the year, Byrne adds.
Spanish carrier Air Nostrum is currently part of a group of aviation businesses under the umbrella Inversiones en Lineas Aereas Internacionales (ILAI).