State-owned Pakistan International Airlines (PIA) has chosen the Bombardier Dash 8 Q300 to replace its fleet of ageing Fokker F27s on domestic and short-haul international routes. PIA says its board has agreed to buy seven Q300s, although it has yet to place an order for the aircraft.

"Assuming the paperwork can be completed quickly, an order will be placed in time for delivery of the first Q300 in the first quarter of next year," says PIA. It plans to take delivery of all the Q300s and phase out its remaining eight F27s in 2005.

Initially, the ATR 42 was seen as the front-runner in the contest, but earlier this year reports emerged that the Saab 2000, although it is no longer in production, might be favoured as it was also being considered by the nation's armed forces as an airborne warning and control system aircraft.

Source: Flight International