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Wet-lease: renting of aircraft of other companies to continue flying

The rights of passengers in the event of changing conditions

The "wet lease" refers to a type of rental contract, stipulated between two airlines, of an airplane comprising all ancillary services such as insurance, crew and maintenance. It generally resorts to "wet lease" to be able to guarantee its services in difficult situations such as in the case of replacing aircraft in maintenance, to cover particular very short and expensive routes and in the eventuality a carrier is among those present in the "black list" of the European Union, which does not allow for security reasons to operate in Europe.

This is what happened on August 23rd for a flight from Rome to New York run by Norwegian Airline that instead of taking off with a recent B-787 Dreamliner resorted to a B-767/300 owned by EuroAtlantic Airways.

The Norwegian carrier declared that on August 10, a B-787 (flight DY 7115 Rome-Fiumicino to Los Angeles, 298 passengers, 9 crewmembers and three pilots on board) lost pieces at take-off and the aircraft involved did not it can be used until the new engine is delivered, but "wet leasing" has been used to allow the continuation of the service.

Also on the same day, easyJet for the flight from Milan to Ibiza replaced one of its aircraft with the livery painted with the orange logo with another model without names and provided by SmartLynx Airlines Estonia. The carrier in this case explained: "During the Summer peak a limited number of flights can be operated by hired aircraft in order to reinforce our operational resilience strategy and limit the impacts of air space congestion. To alleviate this criticality affecting all companies, we have increased the number of aircraft, including four A-320 from the SmartLynx carrier (two based at Berlin-Tegel and two based at Malpensa). We would like to reassure passengers that they will receive the same levels of service, safety and attention that they would receive in an easyJet aircraft".

Even more controversial is the case of Air Italy which uses hired airplanes for the prohibition, after the fatal accidents of Indonesia and Ethiopia, of using B-737 Max all over the world (see AVIONEWS): resorting to "wet lease" literally means being able to continue working.

Sometimes this choice may occur after the ticket has been sold to travellers, but European legislation ("Charter of passenger rights" published by ENAC - Italian Civil Aviation Authority- in point 3.6) states that when changes occur to the conditions indicated at the the time of purchase of the ticket, these must be notified in advance to passengers who can accept them or request a refund.

RC3 - 1223859

© AVIONEWS - World Aeronautical Press Agency Srl