JERSEY EUROPEAN Airways is considering options for the expansion of its fleet, which could see the airline introduce new larger aircraft in 1998.

The regional airline, which flies 12 British Aerospace 146s, four Fokker F27s and two Shorts 360s, has experienced 25% annual growth over the past six years, and is negotiating deals to lease additional BAe 146s this year to cater for expansion.

Jim French, the airline's deputy chief executive, says that the airline has recently begun detailed studies of the 150- to 170-seat class, which includes the Boeing 737 and Airbus A320 families. In 1996, JEA became an Air France Express operator on services from London Heathrow to Toulouse and Lyon, and recently announced an expansion of its own route network from Birmingham. "The slot restraints on our London routes may require a larger aircraft to cater for the growth," says French.

A 50-seater regional jet is also being studied to replace its turboprops. "We have refurbished our F27s and Shorts 360s, but they will be a need to be replaced at some stage," says French, adding that the development of JEA's network could mean that a 50-seater, such as the Canadair Regional Jet, would be too small.

"A lot depends on what British Airways does with its regional operations, and what crumbs we get from the table," he says.

Source: Flight International