Air Anatolia plans to phase out its fleet of Airbus A300s by next year and replace them with a mix of smaller types to reduce operating costs.

The Turkish charter airline's deputy chief executive, Ahmet Karaman, says it wants to phase out its four 19- to 22-year-old A300B2/ B4s by 2000 because they are becoming expensive to operate.

The carrier - formerly known as GTI Airlines - is in talks with Airbus Industrie over the lease of two A310s which it wants to introduce next year. A single narrowbodied Boeing MD-88 has been operated on lease from Onur Air.

Karaman says the airline has signed a letter of intent with an unspecified lessor for a single Boeing 737-300, to be delivered at the end of April. Air Anatolia hopes eventually to take two more 737s from the same source.

The airline changed its name last year after its German shareholders pulled out of the venture and were replaced by Dutch interests. About two-thirds of Air Anatolia's passengers are Turkish immigrant workers and the rest are tourists, says Karaman.

Source: Flight International