BMI Regional to look at larger aircraft in late 2013

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BMI Regional is likely to look at the requirements for larger aircraft towards the end of next year as the Embraer regional jet operator moves to expand the business.

Executive chairman Ian Woodley, who together with Stephen and Peter Bond led a deal to buy the UK regional operator from International Airlines Group in June, is preparing for the airline's new independent operations. This will include a number of new scheduled routes, together with development of its wet-lease and ad-hoc charter work.

The airline has a fleet of 14 Embraer ERJ-145s - seating 49 passengers - and four 37-seat ERJ-135s. These are predominantly owned by the airline.

"In the short- to medium-term, our aircraft ownership costs are minimal, that gives us a level of flexibility," said Woodley during a media briefing at the European Region Airlines Association' general assembly in Dublin. "We still feel the [ERJ]-145 has a role to play in the short- to medium-term. We will look at things at the back end of next year to perhaps increase the fleet with larger-capacity aircraft."