GILLES FILIATREAULT, incoming chief executive at BWIA International Airways, has confirmed that the Caribbean carrier does not intend to take two Airbus A340-300s it had ordered.

Filiatreault says that, when he took over the job in August, he was reassured by BWIA's shareholders that the Airbus orders were effectively cancelled.

Instead, he says, the plan will be to refurbish the existing long-haul fleet of Lockheed L-1011 TriStar 500s at a cost of around $2.5 million each. The only immediate fleet expansion will be marked by the arrival of a second A321 in October, although BWIA has an option on a third aircraft.

Since arriving at the carrier, Filiatreault has set about a review of the whole airline operation. He has already presented a broad strategic assessment of the carrier and is working on a detailed plan of action. Among Filiatreault's first decisions is to suspend the airline's weekly service to Zurich. BWIA will instead concentrate on raising load factors on its twice-weekly flights to Frankfurt.

The airline is also looking at the options for opening up a charter-style service from a Scandinavian city such as Copenhagen or Stockholm. The carrier's main European route to London remains unchanged.

Source: Flight International