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Yemenia to take six Q400s and set to place firm order for Airbus A350 XWB

Yemen flag-carrier Yemenia is to acquire six Bombardier Q400 turboprops to start a new regional operation called Al-Saeeda and is set to firm up its order for Airbus A350 XWB aircraft at the forthcoming Dubai Air Show.

The airline is currently an all-jet operator with two Airbus A330s, four A310s and four Boeing 737-800s, the most recent of which arrived earlier in October.

Al-Saeeda is to be based at the Yemeni capital Sana'a.

Speaking to ATI, flightglobal.com's sister news service, at the Arab Air Carriers Organisation conference in Damascus, Yemenia chairman Abdulkalek Al-Kadi says the flag-carrier would own 25% of the airline with private investors holding the remainder.

Yemenia, however, would have the management rights to the airline for a three-year period.

"It will relieve some of our 737s from the domestic market," he says, allowing Yemenia to redeploy the aircraft on other short- and medium-haul routes.

While details of the operation are still emerging, Al-Kadi says the Q400 aircraft will start arriving next year. Four will be delivered in 2008 and the other two in 2009.

Yemenia is hoping to turn Sana'a into a regional hub; the capital's airport is being expanded to accommodate 5 million annual passengers.

Additionally, Yemenia opted for the original A350 last year when it agreed to take six A350-800s and four options, and stayed with this decision despite the subsequent redesign of the aircraft as the A350 XWB.

Al-Kadi says the airline planned to place the order formally at the forthcoming air show, but indicated that it would comprise 10 firm aircraft.

Delivery of the A350s would begin in 2015 and the aircraft would replace the carrier's two Airbus A330s and four A310s.

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