Aer Lingus (EI, Dublin Int'l) has terminated its wet-lease arrangement with CityJet (WX, Dublin Int'l) covering the Dublin Int'l-London City route, thereby threatening the future of the latter's only Irish base.

In a statement to RTE, Aer Lingus said that it would not be replacing CityJet on the London City route as it would simply be suspended for the time being.

"The impact of Covid-19 on the airline industry, including the closure of London City Airport, and the uncertainty of its duration has regrettably required Aer Lingus to terminate its wet-lease agreement with CityJet and cease operations for the foreseeable future on the Dublin-London City route," the Irish subsidiary of IAG International Airlines Group said.

CityJet, which has been in examinership, a legal process in Ireland granting insolvent firms protection from creditors, since mid-April, used three of its four ARJ-85s for the Aer Lingus contract.

The decision threatens the future of CityJet's Dublin base given that the Aer Lingus contract was the main reason for its existence. Fórsa union official Ian McDonnell revealed that, in the union's opinion, the carrier will seek to exclusively base staff out of its Scandinavian bases going forward.

CityJet has already announced the closure of its Brussels National base after Brussels Airlines (SN, Brussels National) terminated the wet-lease contract for five CRJ900s. The remaining 23 aircraft of the type operated by CityJet are wet-leased to SAS Scandinavian Airlines (SK, Copenhagen Kastrup), which has now emerged as the Irish airline's last long-term ACMI customer.

CityJet is currently in consultations regarding the trimming of 700 of its nearly 1,200 staff, including 276 in Ireland and the United Kingdom. The airline employs around 400 staff in Dublin, including its corporate headquarters.