Start-up Air Omega UK has become the first airline to place orders for the Fairchild Dornier 328JET after the programme was revived by AvCraft.

The German regional carrier, a sister of German Embraer EMB-120 Brasilia freighter operator Air Omega, is acquiring four 328JETs as it prepares to launch passenger services on ex-Lufthansa routes from southern Germany. Two 328JETs are being ordered directly from Fairchild Dornier in a $44 million contract, and the other two leased from an undisclosed source.

The carrier is taking over routes operated by Augsburg Airways for Lufthansa. The carrier plans to gain a UK air operator's certificate before the end of the year and operate international routes.

The 328JET will operate from the short 1,200m (4,000ft) runway at Augsburg airport outside Munich, on routes to Berlin Tempelhof, Düsseldorf and Hamburg from 1 June. The first 328JET is due for delivery this week, with two more joining its fleet by July and a fourth due early next year.

The 328JET and turboprop programme was purchased in March by AvCraft, which is headed by US businessman Ben Bartel (Flight International, 22-28 April). It has up to 18 whitetail aircraft to sell and will restart production of new 328JETs in July.

Source: Flight International