Sabre Airways will introduce two new Boeing 737-800s in 1998, as it begins to move its fleet from Stage 2 equipment.

The London Gatwick-based independent charter airline has signed a seven-year lease agreement with International Lease Finance for two 189-seat 737-800s for delivery in April 1998, with options to extend and to take two additional aircraft.

Sabre began operations in 1994, with two 187-seat Boeing 727-200, using the air operator's certificate (AOC) of Air Foyle. In 1995, the airline was registered under its own AOC, and introduced two leased 737-200s which it operates under a management contract on behalf of Goldcrest, the seat-broking arm of the UK-based inclusive-tour operator Inspirations.

According to Sabre's owner and managing director, Keith Newnham, the airline is moving towards an all-Stage 3 fleet of up to five aircraft by 2000.

"We are expecting to retire the two 727s in 1999 and 2000 as we take more 737-800s," he says. The two Goldcrest 737-200s, which are operated under the identity of "Peach Air", will be removed from the Sabre AOC in 1998, and "-a decision will be taken this year whether we will continue to crew these aircraft for Goldcrest", says Newnham.

The airline operates a network of charter routes from Gatwick and Manchester to many European holiday destinations.

Newnham explains that the longer range of the -800 will enable the charter carrier to provide direct flights to more distant points in northern Africa.

Source: Flight International