The Saab 2000 has emerged as the winner in the competition to supply the Indian Airlines low-cost division, Alliance Air, with a 50-seat regional airliner. Alliance is planning an initial acquisition of six aircraft.

Alliance, launched in April with Boeing 737-200s transferred from its parent, had been evaluating the various 50-seat-category turboprops for operation on its domestic feeder routes. As well as the Saab 2000, the AI(R) ATR 42, Bombardier de Havilland Dash 8, and Fokker 50 were considered.

Indian Airlines' technical department is understood to have selected the Saab 2000, and a firm contract is expected in February or March 1997, with deliveries to Alliance Air possibly commencing as early as the middle of the year. Additional aircraft may be added as traffic growth requires.

Saab confirms that an offer has been made to the airline for an indeterminate number of Saab 2000s, and says that the aircraft offers "the best combination of 'hot-and-high' and short-field performance, and short and long-range economics". Saab demonstrated a 2000 briefly in India in February, when an aircraft stopped at Delhi during its return to Europe from Asian Aerospace '96.

NPEC Airlines is understood to be discussing with the Nepalese Government the possibility of operating international routes from Kathmandu. The Indian domestic airline, based in Madras, is proposing to float a Nepal-based company to operate the services. Meanwhile, NEPC continues to negotiate with Airbus for the lease of three A310s.

Source: Flight International