Jersey European Airways (JEA) is turning its attention to 100-seater requirements after sealing a $250 million deal with Bombardier for up to 15 Dash 8Qs and Canadair Regional Jets (CRJ).

JEA chief executive Barry Perrott says the airline has been viewing its options for a new large aircraft to supplement and/or replace its 15 BAe 146s. Until now, the prime focus was on the smaller 30/70-seat types to replace its turboprops.

"We will now begin looking at the top end of our fleet, and whether we continue with the 146 or take a larger type such as the [Airbus] A318/A320 family or [Boeing] 737," he says.

Jersey European's deal with Bombardier includes a suite of models from the Canadian manufacturer's product line (Flight International, 17-23 March). Deliveries will begin in October of 11 Dash 8Qs, including three 37-seat -200s to replace Shorts 360s and four 50-seat -300s to replace F27s.

The airline will receive the first of four 78-seat -400s in May 2000, and these will be used to supplement the airline's smaller 146s on some existing services and to develop new long, thin routes.

Two used Dash 8-300s are being taken on interim leases in June and July, pending delivery of its own aircraft. JEA will also wet-lease an Embraer RJ-145 from British Regional Airlines to operate new Air France franchise services from Glasgow to Paris, pending delivery of the first of four 50-seat CRJs in October.

Perrott says options are held for more turboprops, but there are no firm plans to acquire the 70-seat CRJ version, the Series 7090. "We have to decide whether we want to continue with the [smaller] 146-100, or move to the 70-seat CRJ."

Perrott says that increasing load factors on the Air France trunk route services, such as those from London Heathrow, have shifted the focus to an aircraft larger than JEA's 83/112-seat 146s. "Any decision is at least 12 months, possibly 18 months away," he adds.

Source: Flight International