South African leasing specialist AirQuarius Aviation is doubling its Fokker F28 fleet with the acquisition of five Mk4000s from Scandinavian Airlines (SAS). The airline says it may make further acquisitions at the end of the year, possibly including the Fokker 100.

The Johannesburg-based company has purchased four ex-SAS F28 Mk4000s directly, and leaseda fifth aircraft from lessor Foster Aero International. Both deals were arranged by Aircraft Leasing and Management (ALM). Three aircraft have been delivered and the fourth is due to arrive later this month, and will be used for the company's expanding wet-leasing business, says general manager Michael Goodwin.

"Work is lined up for all the aircraft," he says, "we have several short- to medium-term contracts of six to 24 months." He adds that the airline intends to operate 10 F28s and break one aircraft for spares.

AirQuarius acquired its first F28 in 2001 and has four in service, one of which is based in Afghanistan to operate humanitarian aid flights for the United Nations.

"We have a contract with Nigerian airline IRS for four aircraft, and Transair Congo for one," says Goodwin. "We expect to place a few locally with South African airlines," he adds.

The F28 is the largest single type in the airline's fleet. Other types that AirQuarius offers for charter include the BAe 748, Boeing 727, Gulfstream I, Learjet 24/25, McDonnell Douglas DC-9 and Raytheon Beech King Air and 1900D. "We may be looking for additional F28s by the end of the year, as well as Fokker 100s to provide additional capacity and range," says Goodwin.

UK remarketing specialist ALM has sold 14 of SAS's F28 Mk4000s, and says two more aircraft should be placed soon.

Source: Flight International