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SAS sells CRJ900 operator Cimber to CityJet

Irish regional operator CityJet is acquiring SAS Group’s Danish subsidiary Cimber, consolidating its position with SAS following its previous takeover of the Blue1 operation.

SAS Group took over Cimber two years ago, to provide a platform for flexible development of regional operations.

It says the divestment of Cimber and its SAS-owned aircraft will result in a negative effect on earnings of SKr20 million ($2.2 million) in the first quarter of 2016-17.

SAS Group chief Rickard Gustafson states that the sale is “in line” with the company’s strategy to concentrate on its own operations.

Synergies between CityJet and Cimber, he adds, will further cut Cimber’s production costs.

“The agreement allows us to fly more routes and maintain a large network with frequent departures,” says Gustafson.

SAS says it will sell the 11 Bombardier CRJ900s operated by Cimber over the next few months.

It adds that it will assess the maintenance status of the jets, which will be recognised as a capital gain – or loss – on the aircraft.

CityJet will operate additional regional services from Copenhagen on SAS Group’s behalf. Cimber currently serves some 30 European destinations for SAS.

CityJet was already performing services for SAS, under a three-year wet-lease agreement, using a fleet of eight CRJ900s – set to rise to 12 by March this year.

But as part of the Cimber acquisition, CityJet’s contract with SAS will double to six years. CityJet is also intending to acquire another 10 CRJ900s.

CityJet will take control of Cimber and the Danish carrier’s 11 CRJ900s from the end of January, at which point it will also confirm the extra 10 aircraft through a new order.

These additional jets will be used to replace the current Cimber aircraft over 2017-18.

CityJet says it will control an overall CRJ900 fleet of 23 aircraft this summer, all of which will be operating exclusively for SAS.

Acquisition of Cimber “advances” CityJet’s strategy of building a role as a regional jet capacity provider to European airlines, says CityJet executive chairman Pat Byrne.

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