Mandarin Airlines, which merged with Formosa Airlines on 8 August, is looking at acquiring six Boeing 737-800s by the end of next year.

"We are going to lease three 737-800s from China Airlines [CAL] in November, and we may dry lease two to three more from the market next year," says Mandarin corporate planning manager James Shih.

The aircraft will be used on 87 weekly flights between Taipei and Kaohsiung, and three between Taipei and Yanggong.

The newly merged Mandarin is 90% owned by CAL, which previously held 100% of Mandarin and 42% of Formosa. Computer monitor manufacturer ADI held another 42% and retains 6% of the combined entity, with the rest in the hands of employees and private investors, says Shih. CAL intends to reduce its stake to 70% by the end of this year, says Shih, but declines to name possible new investment partners.

Mandarin owns just one Boeing 747-400, and operates a CAL Boeing MD-11 to Brisbane and Sydney. It acquired Formosa's Fokker 50/100s, Saab 340s and Fairchild Dornier 228s.

Source: Flight International