Phuket poised to seal 747-200 deal

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Thai carrier Phuket Airlines is closing on a deal to acquire three ex-Garuda Indonesia Boeing 747-200s for use on international charter services. The aircraft will join two ex-KLM 747-200 Stretched Upper Deck (SUD) aircraft - one passenger version and one Combi - which were delivered in December.

Industry sources say Phuket Airlines expects to start taking delivery of the Garuda 747-200s early this year. They will initially be used during the annual Hadj pilgrimage to Mecca, and later for services to Europe. The airline is planning to launch passenger services to Europe in the coming months, with London a top priority. Phuket Air is also examining launching services to Copenhagen in Denmark, Milan in Italy and Sydney, Australia.

Phuket Airlines started operating late in 2001 and, apart from the recently acquired 747-200s, its fleet comprises four Boeing 737-200s and four NAMC YS-11s. The carrier has said it also plans to acquire two used Boeing 757s soon.