Iran's Kish Air is preparing to expand its recently introduced Boeing MD-83 fleet to six aircraft and add Airbus A310s, as part of a major overhaul of its operations.

The airline, which is based in the free economic zone of Kish island, took delivery of its first two MD-83s late last year, leased from Bulgarian Air Charter, becoming the first operator of the type in Iran. Initially, the MD-83s will remain on the Bulgarian register and be flown by Bulgarian crews, with Kish Air expected to make a decision on purchasing the aircraft by the end of this year.

The MD-80 fleet will grow to six aircraft during the year, for use mainly on domestic routes from Kish, replacing Tupolev Tu-154Ms. This has allowed the airline to return two leased Tu-154Ms, but it is retaining its two owned aircraft and redeploying them from Tehran to operate long-haul international flights. This will see them serving Copenhagen and Stockholm and operating summer charters to other European cities, as well as flying from Esfahan to destinations in Syria and the United Arab Emirates.

Meanwhile, the airline hopes to finalise a deal to acquire two ex-Air France A310-300s within the next three months. Kish Air says it is looking for a 70- to 90-seat jet for thin domestic and international services and a 150- to 200-seat long-range aircraft to replace its remaining Tu-154Ms on services to western Europe. The Tupolev Tu-204 and Antonov An-148-100 are being evaluated, with Kish Air seeking ways to wet lease them before deciding on acquisition.

The carrier has dropped a plan to acquire locally built IrAn-140 turboprops in favour of expanding its Fokker 50 fleet, which recently increased to six aircraft.


Source: Flight International