Estonian carrier Regional Jet, which is owned by Estonian state-owned airline Nordica and LOT Polish Airlines, achieved a better than expected zero result for 2018, with turnover increasing 80 percent on year to €68 million.
"I am really impressed with how our organization has developed all these new businesses in such a short period of time, with a performance level above the aviation industry average," Regional Jet CEO Jan Palmér said according to a company press release. "We are now above our critical mass in terms of fleet size, which makes us a very competitive, flexible and sustainable regional airline."
Turnover in 2018 totaled nearly €68 million, up from €37.5 million in 2017, indicating an increase of 80 percent. Intensive expansion and investments into the carrier's ability to offer more services to customers have also had an impact on Regional Jet's equity, but this issue has since been resolved by its owners. The Estonian airline is standing on solid ground and ready to take its business to the next level, the carrier said.
Intensive growth will continue in 2019-2020, with new long-term capacity provider contracts for four ATR72s, seven CRJ900s and, ahead of summer 2020, the introduction of a new type of aircraft to its fleet — the Embraer-190/195. Nordica has also reduced its commercial activities outside of Tallinn, as a result of which Regional Jet has been able to reassign both aircraft and crews from Nordica operations to new customers. Regional Jet's fleet is to grow from 19 to 26 aircraft by summer 2020.
The Embraer jets to be introduced before next summer can carry 110 to 120 passengers at a time. The make-up of Regional Jet's fleet, then, is becoming increasingly similar to the historic fleet of defunct Estonian Air, which Palmer led as CEO from 2012 onwards, as Estonian Air operated jets of the same Embraer type family as well.
Since Nordica has announced that it will withdraw from the passenger business entirely, Regional Jet's current flights for Nordica will fall away and planes and crews become available that will be redirected to serving other customers.
"Major airlines' outsourcing of regional aircraft production has recently begun in Europe, but has been huge in the U.S. for a long time," Palmér said. "There are so many good reasons for outsourcing; it is basically a win-win situation for both parties, and we as Regional Jet are totally dedicated to being part of this new development."
Established in 2016 and owned by Estonian state-owned airline Nordica and LOT Polish Airlines, Regional Jet has 19 aircraft, including 12 CRJ900s and 7 ATR72-600s, and 450 employees, 85 of which are based in its Tallinn office, making it one of the biggest regional airlines in Europe.
Fully dedicated to operating as a subcontractor for other commercial airlines, Regional Jet has 350 crews based in Tallinn, Vilnius, Copenhagen, Billund, Aarhus, Stockholm and Warsaw, and this summer is operating flights for Nordica, LOT, SAS, Airserbia, Luxair, Flybe, Loganair, Smartlynx, Greatdaneairlines, BMI Regional as well as a number of ad-hoc charters.
Editor: Aili Vahtla