Max Kingsley-Jones/LONDON


British World Airlines expects to begin replacing its BAC One-Elevens later this year, as it moves to standardise on a two-type fleet of Boeing 737-300s and British Aerospace ATPs (above).

The UK independent airline plans to introduce its first 737-300, a second-hand aircraft on operating lease, by the middle of this year, as it begins to phase out its One-Eleven 500s. One of its five One-Elevens was recently sold, and BWA managing director Ian Vanderbeek says that the rest should be gone by 2002.

The 737s "will initially supplement the One-Elevens, assuming the [latter's] Stage 3 hushkit is developed and certificated," says Vanderbeek. The move to newer jet equipment comes as the airline attempts to expand its business, with possible ties with other companies. Vanderbeek says that BWA has been in discussion with various third parties to undertake regional services on a franchise basis. It has also talked to tour operators about potential links to operate charter programmes.

"While we are independent and not linked to a tour operator, I don't see the 737 fleet growing beyond three aircraft," says Vanderbeek. The franchise discussions envisage BWA taking over routes and aircraft from other carriers, with BWA seeking to avoid making any capital investment.

BWA's turboprop fleet includes two ATR 72s and four ATPs. The types have a similar capacity, and BWA aims to concentrate on the latter, with its lower capital costs, for its long-term needs. Vanderbeek expects the ATP fleet ultimately to grow to 10 aircraft, used for passenger and freight charter work.

ATPs have recently been wet-leased to Jersey European Airways and Cityjet, while one of the ATRs has been placed with CityFlyer Express on a long-term dry lease. Vanderbeek is finalising a deal to place an ATP in New Zealand on a six month contract, after which it will be transferred to BWA's Sydney-based sister company, Australian Jet Charter.

Source: Flight International