Helvetic Expects ACMI Take-Up Of Its Embraer E2s

Credit: Helvetic Airways

Swiss regional carrier Helvetic Airways believes several airlines will utilize its fleet of Embraer E190/195-E2s for wet-lease capacity, especially when environmental requirements are attached to the financial support airlines receive from European governments.

“We are in talks with several airlines to support them for the ramp-up phase when demand after the pandemic returns,” Helvetic CEO Tobias Pogorevc told Aviation Daily in an exclusive interview. “Sure, all airlines have too many aircraft and there is a lot of overcapacity. But in the end, mathematics and low emissions will count.”

The Zurich-based carrier, which operates eight Embraer E190-E2s and four E190s, is specialized in the ACMI leasing business, where contracts include aircraft, crew, maintenance, and insurance. “We have speeded up the phase-out of four other E190s. This coming June, we will take delivery of two E195-E2 and two more in July. With 16 aircraft, we will have the right fleet,” he said. 

Pogorevc said it has always been Helvetic’s strategy to continue operating several older E190s. “The E190-E2 is an ultra-modern aircraft. It is performing well, but you never know how a new airplane works in the first 12 months,” he said, adding that the E190 could cover any ground time if necessary. 

Helvetic has a long-term wet-lease contract with Lufthansa subsidiary Swiss International Air Lines (SWISS). “This is a well-established partnership. Our E190-E2 has been acquired for SWISS as part of our long-term contract. We are very close with SWISS since 2007, in good times as well in bad times,” he said. 

The CEO believes Helvetic’s Embraer regional jets complement the SWISS fleet of Airbus A220-100 and A220-300 aircraft. “I believe with our E190 (112 seats), the E190-E2 with 110 seats and the E195-E2 with 134 seats, we have the ideal portfolio for the ramp-up,” he said.

A SWISS spokesperson confirmed to Aviation Daily that “we will continue to cooperate with Helvetic in the future. In principle, Helvetic is a very important partner for SWISS.” 

Pogorevc also confirmed talks between Helvetic and Lufthansa LCC subsidiary Eurowings. “Nothing has been decided so far, but we are talking about the possibility to operate several aircraft for Eurowings from Dusseldorf (DUS) and Stuttgart (STR) from July 1 to cover the summer peak.” 

The E190-E2’s 5,280 km (3,281 mi.) range offers new possibilities, the CEO added. There are several markets in Africa which could be linked with Switzerland, where an Airbus A320 could be too big in terms of capacity. “You could operate the E2 for example to Ouagadougou [Burkina Faso], as a wet-lease partner or [we could fly it] ourselves as a scheduled flight,” Pogorevc said. 

Helvetic Airways currently operates just 20% of its pre-pandemic capacity. 

Kurt Hofmann

Kurt Hofmann has been writing on the airline industry for 25 years. He appears frequently on Austrian, Swiss and German television and broadcasting…