Justin Wastnage/LONDON

Romanian domestic carrier Angel Airline is poised to start operations with the first batch of up to 16 leased BAe J32 turboprops.

The start-up is due to launch services on 23 July on 14 internal routes aimed at business travellers. The airline is privately-owned with backing from aviation insurers Anglo-Romanian Insurance, part of the UK financial services company Balli. It is finalising an initial lease deal with BAE Systems for five secondhand 19-seat J32s and has options for 11 more. Around 70% of the airline's 100 staff have already been trained by BAE.

Angel will offer twice-daily returns between key Romanian cities on weekdays for under 4 million lei ($150). Its service will not directly compete with state-owned flag-carrier Tarom. Dan Vulcan, Angel Airline's chief executive officer, says: "We are a complementary service to Tarom, as we serve different sectors of the economy." Initially Angel will not serve Romania's second city Timisoara, but will have services from Bucharest's Baneasa airport to the Black Sea port of Mangalia and to Arad on the Hungarian border.

Tarom's internal network serves 13 cities, but the airline is increasingly becoming internationally focused, with domestic passengers accounting for only 10% of the carrier's total traffic. The national carrier supports the creation of the new airline, with president Nicolae Demetriade saying: "The entrance of Angel will be good for the market. Fares are low on domestic routes and the industry competes with extensive but slow ground transport. Looking into the future, Tarom's domestic operation is somewhat of a dilemma."

Source: Flight International