Icelandic operator also wants to strike balance between passenger and cargo activitiesI

celandic wet-lease specialist Air Atlanta is looking to increase its Airbus fleet following the company's recent merger with fellow Icelandic operator Islandsflug.

The airline is primarily a Boeing operator, with 29 of its 57 aircraft being 747s – 16 freighters and 13 passenger aircraft. It operates six Airbuses – four A300-600 freighters, one A310 passenger aircraft and one freighter. However, the group is now seeking to extend its remit by offering additional Airbus types.

Speaking to Flight International's sister on-line publication Air Transport Intelligence last week at the opening of parent organisation Avion Group's new headquarters in Reykjavik, Avion Group vice-president business development and communications Magnus Stephensen said: "Most certainly we're going to expand the Airbus fleet and the A320 is certainly an aircraft we will take at some point in time. There's plenty of demand."

Stephensen added that growth is being driven by demand from the cargo sector, but A320s would be brought in for passenger operations. The company has been trying to strike an even balance between cargo and passenger activity by 2006, the latter having historically dominated Air Atlanta's activities.

Additional types could enter service as early as this winter, said Stephensen, dependent on training constraints, aircraft availability and customer demand. "We're not going to become an all-Airbus fleet, but it's a nice contribution to the mix," said Stephensen.

While cargo versions of the 747-200 form the backbone of Air Atlanta's freight fleet, the company is having a single 747-400 converted to cargo as an initial step towards a transition to the newer generation type for both passenger and cargo operations.

"I suspect that we will be able to operate the classics for eight to 10 years...we will slowly be phasing in the -400 series in line with availability and cost," said Stephensen.


Source: Flight International