AIR CANADA CHAIRMAN Hollis Harris may invest in an US-based "no-frills" airline, which could be in operation as early as June 1996.

Harris confirms in an interview with the Canadian Financial Post that at least four "core" investors are already examining whether to take a stake in the new carrier, which could acquire a substantial portion of Air Canada's fleet of 35 McDonnell Douglas DC-9s.

Harris is operating under a five-year employment contract, which expires early in 1997, and he intends to stay with Air Canada until that time. While he would not become an active partner in the new carrier until he left his current employer, he says that there is nothing to prevent his potential partners from launching the airline in 1996.

He adds that his new carrier would not compete directly against Air Canada on trans-border routes. Instead, it would focus on limited-frequencies in the southeast USA.

Source: Flight International