Max Kingsley-Jones/LONDON

Air Atlanta Icelandic is phasing out its narrowbodies and Lockheed L-1011 TriStar fleet and focusing on an all-widebody fleet of Boeing 747s and 767s.

The Reykjavik, Iceland-based wet-lease specialist recently signed agreements to take five more 747s on lease, bringing its 747 fleet to 11 aircraft.

Three TriStars have been removed from Atlanta's fleet in 1999, and one of the five remaining trijets will be returned to its owner next year. The airline's three 737s - two 737-200 freighters and one -300 - have also been disposed of.

Atlanta's long-term plan is to replace its four remaining TriStars with secondhand Boeing 767s, and it says it is "in discussions regarding various deals for deliveries beginning in late 2000". The twinjets would probably be acquired on operating lease.

"We do not plan to acquire any further TriStars unless there is a specific demand from customers," says the carrier. The phasing out of its remaining trijets will be dictated by market demand, and when they are due for their expensive rear spar maintenance modification, which costs upwards of $1 million.

The airline's recent 747 acquisitions include three -200s - two ex-Cathay Pacific, Rolls-Royce RB211-524-powered examples and one ex-Japan Airlines Pratt & Whitney JT9D-powered version - and two ex-Varig General Electric CF6-powered 747-300s from International Lease Finance. "We have looked at the 747-400 and could acquire some if the price is right," says Atlanta.

The airline recently lost business because of Caledonian Airways' merger with Flying Colours, which had been leasing four TriStars. Atlanta says it is in talks about replacement UK business for 2000. "Most of the capacity for 2000 is sold or in the final stages of negotiation," it adds.

Source: Flight International