Air Transport World

New aircraft? Don't call us...: with a few exceptions, the U.K.'s cash-short regionals are shopping for secondhand aircraft and partners as the ranks grow thinner.

New aircraft? Don't call us . . .

With a few exceptions, the U.K.'s cash-short regionals are shopping for secondhand aircraft and partners as ther anks grow thinner. By Aison Chambers London--When Avions de Transport Regional President Henri Paul-Puel said that he was targeting sales of 50 ATR 42s to U.K. airlines early this year, industry reaction was that he was being optimistic. Unlike their French and German counterparts, many of the U.K.'s regionals are far from looking to update their fleets with new-generation turboprops. The climate for Britain's cash-strapped, privately owned regionals is that it is better to look for used BAC-111 jets, Shorts 360s and Fokker F27s, as a number have done.

Brymon Airways, 40% owned by British Airways (BA), and the Airlines of Britain Group's Manx Airlines stand out as regionals that have committed to new-generation equipment, with ATP and 146 operator Isle of Man-based Manx expected to extend its relationship with BAe by becoming one of the first European customers for the Jetstream 41 for proposed new services from a hub at Cardiff, Wales.

A Brasilia to Paris

Luton-based Air Exel UK has an Embraer Brasilia from Swiss parent Alphalines, with which it was to begin scheduled links to Paris and Edinburgh last month, while Air Kilroe--first in the U.K. to commit to the Jetstream Super 31--has refrained from turning its lucrative Manchester-Teesside charter, performed on behalf of chemical giant ICI, into a scheduled service.

Not surprisingly, the first commitment to the new regional-jet market has come from BA, with a memorandum of understanding for 20 Canadair Regional Jets. But there is some question whether BA will take the aircraft (ATW, 10/90). And if it does, where they will go to work has yet to be determined. Birmingham European Airways, a Plimsoll Line member affiliated with BA through sister Brymon, has a number of long, thin European routes such as Milan that would suit the RJ and Managing Director John Eriksen acknowledged recently that it would not be inconceivable for the aircraft to be deployed on some BEA routes that have been upgraded from Gulfstream G-1s to BAC-111-400s.

It is acknowledged generally that the next few years are apt to see a thinning of the number of regional airlines in the U. …

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