British World Airlines (BWA) is about to conclude a deal with Aero International (Regional) for a fleet of British Aerospace ATP turboprops to be introduced later this year on the passenger wet-lease market.

The airline is expected to sign a deal imminently for the lease of two of the five "whitetail" (undelivered) ATPs, which have been in storage since completion in 1992/3.

The first 64-seat aircraft should be delivered by August, with the second aircraft scheduled to follow later in the year.

Southend, UK-based BWA's operations are divided between its aircraft, crew, maintenance and insurance (ACMI) ßying with its fleet of BAC One-Eleven 500s; air-cargo contracts with its Vickers Viscount freighters; and oil-support flying for Shell from Aberdeen, Scotland, with two AI(R) ATR 72s.

Following the retirement in 1996 of its last ageing 74-seat Viscount from passenger flying, BWA has found that there is a void in the market, which it is now seeking to fill with the ATPs.

The ATPs, which are to be based at Stansted Airport, will be offered on the ACMI market, although there are no plans to fly them on BWA's own services. The ATPs could be equipped with limited passenger-to-cargo conversion capability, enabling them to be offered for freight charters. If a large- enough market exists, the airline plans to acquire more ATPs, either new or secondhand.

Meanwhile, BWA declines to comment on its recent licence application to operate long-haul scheduled services between London Gatwick and Manchester and Las Vegas in the USA. The airline is also actively seeking crews for a new operation which involves Lockheed TriStars.

It is understood that the application comes after an approach from an undisclosed customer, about a possible contract for BWA to operate the services.

Source: Flight International