Air Algerie plots fleet renewal to replace old 767s

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Algerian flag carrier Air Algerie is intending to replace its Boeing 767 fleet with a new 250-seat type under a fleet renewal included in its latest five-year strategy.

Ten objectives feature in Air Algerie's new strategic plan, covering 2013-17, says chief executive Mohamed Salah Boultif.

He says that the carrier is intending to acquire at least another eight aircraft and will put out a request once it has "settled the financials".

But he says Air Algerie wants three 250-seat jets to replace its ageing 767-300s, which date back to 1990.

Salah says the airline is not focused on any particular type but will simply evaluate all responses to the request, which could be made in 2013.

The airline has five Airbus A330-200s, from 2005, with which it performs long-haul services. Like the 767s the A330s are powered by General Electric CF6s.

Air Algerie, whose medium-haul operations are performed by Boeing 737-600s and 737-800s, also wants three 150-seat aircraft, and Salah adds that the carrier is looking into acquiring two freighters.

While the fleet forecast extends to eight aircraft, Salah says there "could be more", including a possible addition of 70-seat regional types. The carrier already uses a dozen ATR 72s.

Its strategic plan centres on "building a hub" at Algiers, he adds, and trying to attract sixth-freedom traffic "as the Gulf airlines do". But he acknowledges that competition for this traffic is "very hard".

Air Algerie remains state-controlled but Salah says the carrier is planning to restructure by creating subsidiaries for such operations as catering and ground handling.