NEW UK CARRIER Community Express Airlines is awaiting the delivery of the first of two Shorts 360-300s from Liberty Express in the USA, to inaugurate a domestic schedule.

Community Express will initially link Birmingham with London Gatwick, most probably from early October.

Expansion to connect Bristol, Cardiff and Liverpool with Birmingham and Gatwick is the likely next step.

The airline's £1.3 million ($2 million) capital has been subscribed by US regional Mesa Air Group, which is taking a 49% stake, Player, deal, which is an investor consortium led by Roy Steptoe, who will be chief executive of Community Express; and Robert Drummond Associates.

Graham Mimms of Avon Transport Consultants (which originally assembled the deal, but is no longer involved) says that the Mesa Air Group is rationalising its fleet, and has taken this unusual step of keeping surplus unpressurised aircraft employed, with Europe seen as the best prospective market.

Source: Flight International