Max Kingsley-Jones/LONDON

BWIA HAS ABANDONED its intentions to operate up to ten Embraer EMB-145s and is rethinking its plans for an Airbus long-haul fleet. The airline, however, discounts rumours that it is talking to Boeing again.

The Caribbean-based carrier, which signed a letter of intent for the Brazilian regional jet last August, says that "...all plans [for the EMB-145] have been dropped. The aircraft is too small for us".

The deposit on the aircraft (which is understood to be around $125,000) is in the process of being returned. "Placing the deposits was effectively a hedge, in the event of our tie-up with LIAT not evolving", says the airline.

Before its order in 1995 for two A340-300s direct from Airbus, BWIA had been discussing the acquisition of a fleet of Boeing 757s and 767s. The A340s were scheduled for delivery late this year. BWIA denies the deal has fallen through, although it is understood that the contract is subject to "further negotiation". BWIA discounts reports that it is again in discussions to acquire 757s and 767s.

BWIA has reiterated its plans to acquire International Aero Engines V2500-powered A321s, with the first due for delivery in July on lease from ILFC. A second aircraft will arrive in October, and BWIA says that it is "exploring the possibility" of taking one-third from the US lessor early in 1997.

BWIA was privatised in 1995 under chairman, Edward Acker, with the Government of Trinidad, retaining a 35% stake. Acker has since left the airline, followed by former chief executive Edward Wegel. A loss of $3.6 million was recorded for 1995, compared to $9.4 million the year before.

The carrier has now concluded the acquisition of a 29% stake in Antigua-based LIAT, providing it with a regional partner in the eastern Caribbean.

Source: Flight International