Swiss regional airline Helvetic Airways has leased two Embraer E190s from lessor TrueNoord to expand its fleet. The aircraft recently flew with TUI fly Belgium, which is replacing them with new E195-E2s on lease for AerCap. For Helvetic, the two aircraft are a welcome addition. Helvetic Airways’ lease of two Embraers benefits SWISS.
At its peak, Helvetic Airways operated eleven Embraer E190s, but seven were phased out between October 2019 and May 2021 as the airline inducted eight E190-E2s and four E195E2s. Helvetic is operating its own network but has a long history of supporting SWISS by wet-leasing capacity during the peak seasons.
The arrival of the E195-E2s coincided with the second Covid year, which saw SWISS reduce its wet-lease requirements as the national carrier went through a painful transformation process. In some way, Helvetic managed to get through the crisis itself. As demand in Switzerland recovered, SWISS was happy to source more capacity from Helvetic. For a few months, there has been an urgent need to do so. It is called the Geared Turbofan.
SWISS is short of capacity
As Lufthansa CEO Carsten Spohr said during the Q1 earnings call, one-third of SWISS’ Airbus A220 fleet is grounded because of the durability issues of the Pratt & Whitney Geared Turbofan. A320neo-family aircraft were also affected. SWISS has wet-leased capacity from airBaltic to satisfy demand, but Helvetic is also fully back in action. When AirInsight checked the fleet status today, all four E190s currently in the fleet and all E2s except one that is grounded were operating on behalf of SWISS.
Adding some redundancy by leasing two E190s that have a good track record sounds like a smart thing to do for Helvetic. As CEO Tobias Pogorevc said in a media statement: “These additional availabilities allow Helvetic Airways to maintain a stable flight schedule even under the current challenging conditions and to guarantee customers a high level of reliability, punctuality, and planning certainty.”
The two E190s were built in 2013 and operated until recently in the colors of TUI fly Belgium out of Antwerp Airport. The first aircraft has already been repainted in the Helvetic livery (see main picture) and will join the carrier by the end of May, with the second aircraft to join in late June.
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