Grounded Air Rose seeks 737 to satisfy Turkish rule

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Air Rose of Turkey has been grounded by the country's CAA after falling foul of a national rule requiring charter airlines to operate at least three aircraft.

The CAA pulled the carrier's operating authorisation on 25 December, leaving its single 148-seat Boeing 737-700 and single 737-300 on the ground at the airline's Antalya International Airport base and stranding passengers in Germany and Israel.

Company vice president, Bulent Dilmen, says the airline is trying to recommence operations by leasing another 737-700 from Maersk Air of Denmark, which was the source of its first 737-700.

The rule requiring a minimum fleet was designed to boost operating standards in Turkey's volatile charter airline sector but has been controversial in practice. For a time last year the Government let charter operators start operations with only one aircraft but then re-imposed the three aircraft-requirement under pressure from larger airlines.

Air Rose is owned by Turkish president Suleyman Demirel's cousin, Yilmaz Sener, and his son, Mesut Sener. It was created in October 1997 but began operations only last year, flying to various northern European tourist destinations.