Albanian Airlines has initiated a fleet upgrade programme with the acquisition of its first western built jet, a BAe 146-200.

The country's national carrier has acquired the 15-year old, ex-Malmo Aviation aircraft from the Trading and Services division of BAE Systems Aircraft Services Group. The 96-seater will be delivered in May, replacing one of airline's four 76-seat Tupolev Tu-134s. A second 146 is being sought for acquisition next year to replace another Tu-134.

Albanian's network comprises of services linking the country's capital Tirana with Bologna, Frankfurt, Istanbul, Pristina, Rome and Zurich. Its four Russian jets are wet-leased from Bulgarian carrier Hemus Air which also provides its air operator's certificate. The BAe 146 will also be operated and maintained by Hemus.

Owned since 1995 by the MA Kharafi Group of Kuwait the airline is expanding its network.

Source: Flight International