Air Nostrum (YW, Valencia Manises) is to be restructured into a group of seven distinct companies ahead of its planned merger with CityJet (WX, Dublin Int'l).

During a press conference on Friday, March 22, the Spanish carrier holding's president, Carlos Bertomeu, said the exercise would allow each company to operate in a specific niche thus avoiding duplication. It will also increase their ability to market to third-party customers, in particular, "very large clients" such as Lufthansa and SAS Scandinavian Airlines.

The companies include:

  • Air Nostrum Engineering: will be responsible for MRO services that are currently carried out by Air Nostrum's technical division. It will primarily target the European market;
  • Air Nostrum Global Services: the key unit in the group which will offer a variety of services including legal, corporate communications, human resources, financial, IT, and administration to member carriers as well as third-parties;
  • Air Nostrum Training: will cater to crew training;
  • Air Nostrum Technic America (ANTA): headquartered in Paraguay, ANTA provides major maintenance services and stockpiles Bombardier Aerospace, Avions de Transport Régional, and Airbus parts for airlines in Paraguay, Argentina and Bolivia;
  • Saimer: a leasing company based in Ireland;
  • Aer Resources Agency (ARA): a company responsible for personnel, including flight crew, management across the group's various AOCs;
  • Air Nostrum Commercial: will oversee the commercialization of the group's various airlines with regards to scheduled flights, charter flights and wet-lease/ACMI operations.

Aside from Air Nostrum itself, parent firm Inversiones Líneas Aéreas Internacionales (ILAI) has shareholdings in other airlines across the world namely Medavia (5M, Malta Int'l) in Malta, Hibernian Airlines (HBN, Dublin Int'l) in Ireland, Flyest (FQ, Buenos Aires Aeroparque) in Argentina, and Paranair (ZP, Asuncion) in Paraguay.

Bertomeu added that Air Nostrum's current 1,500-strong workforce will be split up among the seven companies with no dismissals or work relocation to be done.

He said the decision to spin-off the carrier's subsidiaries and pursue a merger with CityJet was necessary given the changing global aviation market place, in particular, regional aviation where the global trend was towards fewer and fewer operators.

"We will not just be watching from the sidelines because there are only three options; you can either be a consolidator, be consolidated, or you simply just disappear," he said.

On Air Nostrum's merger with Ireland's CityJet, Bertomeu said they are still awaiting authorisation from the European Commission, due within the next five months.

If approved as is, Air Nostrum will have a majority shareholding in the merged company which will also have a new, as yet undecided, name.