Wednesday, December 3, 2014

Helvetic Airways to take seven FlyNiki Embraer E-190s

Switzerland-based Helvetic Airways will buy seven 112-seat Embraer E-190s from Austria-based airberlin subsidiary FlyNiki, which is expanding its fleet capacity with five 150-seat Airbus A319s and two 180-seat A320s, a source close to airberlin’s management confirmed to ATW.

                                                                       The changeover will be gradually implemented by June 2015.

According to the source, the carrier will operate four of these aircraft in a wet-lease contract for Swiss International Air Lines (SWISS) until SWISS can take delivery of its first Bombardier CSeries aircraft.

Oneworld member airberlin announced its fleet harmonization plan in September as part of its restructuring program.

“Harmonizing our fleet will enable us to achieve increased productivity, lower costs per seat kilometer and more efficient flight operations,” CEO Wolfgang Prock-Schauer said in a statement.

“The decision to switch to the larger Airbus planes will also create new growth opportunities for FlyNiki. In 2015, the carrier will therefore see capacity increases,” Prock-Schauer added.

FlyNiki CEO Christian Lesjak described FlyNiki’s fleet standardization as a “bonus” for the Austria-based subsidiary. For example, he said, “Vienna Airport has established itself as a hub for airberlin passengers for flights to Greece and Cyprus.”

Airberlin plans to retire all its 45 Boeing 737s by 2016 and become an Airbus-only operator.
Airberlin has further 10 Airbus A321 aircraft on order. Plus it plans to order 10 more A320s, which not yet been officially announced.

ATW understands airberlin will also acquire 14 additional A320 aircraft from Alitalia.

(Kurt Hofmann - ATWOnline News)

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