Privately-owned Indian carrier MDLR Airlines has secured two more British Aerospace passenger regional jets, has had preliminary discussions with Bombardier, Embraer and Sukhoi about new regional jets and also plans to expand into dedicated freighter operations.

MDLR CEO, Koustav Dhar, tells ATI it plans to cap its British Aerospace regional passenger fleet at six aircraft and is talking to Bombardier and Embraer about its future fleet.

"While our first preference was Sukhoi Superjet 100s, the delay in production and" the fact it has yet to receive FAA and EASA certification has led MDLR to look at other options.

Aircraft with less than 100 passenger seats is the preferred option and the Bombardier CRJ900 and Embraer 190 are the front-runners, he says.

MDLR today has a fleet of three BAe RJ70s and it has a fourth due in October, from a Swiss leasing firm, and "we are waiting for the completion of 'C-checks' on the aircraft, he says.

He adds, a RJ85 is due in early December and "we are also in negotiation with another large European operator for another RJ85 which will take our fleet to six aircraft by March 2010."

Dhar says some of its current RJ70s are undergoing heavy maintenance checks.

He says Romanian maintenance, repair and overhaul firm Aerostar has completed a 'C-check' on one MDLR RJ70 and is now working on a second and the MRO is due to receive a third in mid-October.

MDLR handles its own 'A-checks' and early next year will be establishing its own ground handling division to save money and improve efficiency, he adds.

Dhar also says in April 2010 he will be launching MDLR Cargo which will operate a BAe 146QT freighter and cater to the express courier market.

Source: Air Transport Intelligence news