Malaysia's Berjaya Air has asked ATR and Bombardier to calculate if any of their twin-engined turboprops can operate from two 1,000m (3,280ft) island airstrips now served only by four-engined de Havilland Dash 7s.

Berjaya seeks to add at least one twin-engined aircraft early next year to supplement its existing fleet of four Dash 7s. General manager Lim Kian Hui says the new aircraft would be used to boost capacity to Redang and Tioman islands and launch new longer-range services to Indonesia and Thailand.

Technical data on the short take-off and landing (STOL) capability of the ATR 42-320 and -500, and Bombardier Dash 8 Q200/Q300 is to be submitted to Berjaya within the next two months. Berjaya then hopes to demonstrate those aircraft deemed feasible for Redang and Tioman and select the aircraft most economically viable.

A fifth Dash 7 will be acquired if a newer twin-engined aircraft is not feasible or viable.

Berjaya needs more capacity following the March opening of Redang's airfield, which it built in conjunction with the expansion of a resort operated by its sister company. Berjaya is a niche leisure carrier specialising in service to small island airstrips from Kuala Lumpur and Singapore.

Source: Flight International