An Irish court has appointed an interim examiner at regional wet-lease specialist CityJet as the carrier seeks protection during the coronavirus crisis.

Examinership is a process in Irish law under which companies can protect themselves from creditors while they restructure. A spokesman for the airline confirms an interim examiner has been appointed following a High Court hearing in Dublin today. 

The move follows the coronavirus crisis, which has brought a virtual halt to scheduled passenger flights across Europe.

Irish carrier CityJet has focused on its wet-lease business since ending scheduled passenger flights in its own right in the winter of 2018. CityJet has been operating flights for carriers including Aer Lingus and SAS. 

It has has also been working on a planned merger with Spanish regional carrier Air Nostrum. First announced in the summer 2018, the carriers’ received European Commission approval for the tie-up last summer. CityJet chief executive Pat Byrne told the Irish Independent in March that the deal had been close to completion prior to the coronavirus outbreak.

Following the appointment of an examiner today, the Irish Independent quotes Byrne as saying it was “prudent and responsible” for the board to have applied for examinership given the shutdown of airline operations due to the coronavirus.

”We firmly believe that the airline can sustain itself through this standstill period and will emerge as a stronger company at the end of this process and importantly will be well-positioned to grow its operations and sustain our capacity to continue to employ significant numbers of people,” Byrne says.