CityJet Celebrates 30th Anniversary of First Scheduled Flight
10 January 2024 : Dublin-based regional airline CityJet today celebrates the 30th anniversary of its first scheduled flight which departed Dublin for London City Airport on January 10th, 1994. The airline started out by launching the first services between Dublin and London City under a franchise agreement established between its founder Pat Byrne and Richard Branson’s Virgin Atlantic Airways, in whose colours the first aircraft were painted. Since then, CityJet has evolved through a period of Air France ownership between 2000 and 2014, to today being the primary provider of regional jet wet lease capacity services to European airlines.
CityJet provides its aircraft on a “wet lease” basis to its customer airlines, under which they are operated and maintained by CityJet but fly on the routes of its customer airline. In recent years, CityJet has provided its capacity service to many major European airlines, including Aer Lingus, Air France, Brussels Airlines, KLM, Lufthansa and SAS and indeed has operated almost 275,000 flights for SAS since its contract started in 2016. CityJet employs over 600 staff today, 80% of whom are located at its Scandinavian bases in Copenhagen and Stockholm, and retains its head office at Dublin Airport and a planning unit in London.
CityJet began flying wet lease services for SAS in 2016 and, in a strategic move that significantly grew its operational network, acquired Copenhagen-based airline Cimber from SAS in 2017. This acquisition has been instrumental in augmenting CityJet's operational capacities, bringing a wealth of new Scandinavian talent into the CityJet team and reinforcing its footprint in the Nordic region. The combination of the operational capability and people of Cimber and CityJet's strategic vision has enabled the development of CityJet’s Copenhagen-based operation to include 460 employees under Danish contracts and labour agreements. The scale of its presence in Denmark, as one of the larger airline employers in the country, underscores CityJet's profound connection to the Danish aviation market, embodying a distinct Danish-Irish corporate identity.
Speaking today, Pat Byrne, founder and Chairman of CityJet, said “It is hard to believe that the company we set up thirty years ago would today be a truly pan-European operation providing services to the major airlines across Europe. Throughout its life, CityJet has been focused, innovative and always ready to adapt to changes in the market, of which there have been many over the years. Through the dedication, enthusiasm and professionalism of everybody in the CityJet team, the airline is now a major force in the European market in the niche we serve and it gives me immense pride to feel that this is something we have created from our humble beginnings so long ago”.
CityJet became part of SARA – Strategic Alliance of Regional Airlines – in October 2023, making it part of the largest regional aviation platform in Europe in co-operation with Air Nostrum of Spain, a partner airline which is also in its thirtieth year.
For more information on the history of CityJet, click here.
Photo of CityJet BAe146 EI-JET in 1994 by permission of Malcolm Nason