The UK leisure airline Jet2 is operating its first widebody aircraft after signing a damp lease ACMI (aircraft, crew, maintenance, insurance) agreement with AirTanker. Since May, one of the five ‘noncore’ aircraft in AirTanker’s 14-strong fleet of A330-200s, G-VYGL (msn 1555), has been operating out of Manchester on Jet2 services to Palma, Tenerife, Rhodes and Arrecife. The aircraft will operate with Jet2 for the rest of the UK summer season and the airline has already said it intends to operate an A330 again for the summer 2018 season.
Under the Future Strategic Tanker Aircraft contract awarded by the Ministry of Defence in 2008, AirTanker provides a core fleet of nine A330-200s to the Royal Air Force. A further five aircraft form a non-core fleet and when spare capacity is available AirTanker can lease these aircraft to the commercial market. Jet2 is expanding this summer to run 400 weekly flights in its busiest operation since it began flying in 2003. The airline has never operated a widebody before, having solely used Boeing 737s. AirTanker previously wet-leased one of its non-core A330s to Thomas Cook Airways in 2015.