Sicilian start-up Blueline plans Q400 fleet

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Sicily’s Trapani Airport is to be the base for a new Italian regional start-up carrier branded Blueline which aims to launch services this summer connecting Sicily and Mediterranean islands with southern Italy.

Blueline is aiming to start scheduled operations around June or July using a Bombardier Q400 twin-turboprop and intends to expand to a fleet of three aircraft; it claims that it will buy its aircraft outright from the manufacturer.

“Launch of operations will depend on the delivery scheme from Bombardier,” says a spokesman for Blueline. “The company will be based in Sicily and the main frame of our flight plans will be flights to southern Italy, to Rome, and to a couple of the nearby minor islands.”

Trapani lies on the western tip of Sicily. Islands in the region include Aeolian Islands north of Sicily, the Isole Egadi group off the west coast and the Italian island of Pantelleria east of Tunisia.

Blueline is in the process of acquiring an air operator’s certificate although the carrier is unsure when this will be secured. The carrier is owned by a group of individual investors with a background in the tourism and travel industry, but the airline has named Amadeo di Savoi as its president.

“We’ll start with one aircraft. But we are looking for three to operate for about the first couple of years,” says the spokesman. He says that the company is still in the process of being established and is unable to give information on start-up costs and expected staff numbers.

Italy has been the scene of a recent flurry of start-up activity with the emergence of prospective budget carriers Ciao Fly and Airvia Italia, while Sicilian carrier Free Airways announced towards the end of last year that it planned to start charter operations from Palermo.