Andrew Doyle/MUNICH

UK regional operator ScotAirways hopes to finalise an order for 10 Fairchild Aerospace 328JETs and a pair of additional Fairchild Dornier 328 turboprops in the next few weeks as part of its ambitious expansion plans.

The carrier, formerly Suckling Airways, plans to introduce its first jets on domestic and European flights from London City, Luton and Southampton airports and has identified "other route opportunities", says general manager Brian Hetherington. He says ScotAirways wants to begin taking delivery of the 30-seat 328JETs over three years, starting by June.

"We have decided the 328JET is the way to go and, if we can get the right terms and conditions, we will probably place an order for 10," says Hetherington.

ScotAirways has extensive operational experience with the 328JET's turboprop predecessor, with six aircraft in its fleet. The two types have almost identical cockpits, systems and structure.

However, operations into London City with the 328JET are dependent on Fairchild developing and certificating aerodynamic modifications to allow the aircraft to carry out the required 5.5° steep approach to the airport.

One option under consideration is to employ the roll spoilers used on the 328 turboprop - and de-activated on the standard 328JET - as speedbrakes. This change would also benefit operators using the planned increased operating ceiling of 35,000ft (10,700m) for the 328JET, up from the current 31,000ft limit, to increase maximum rate of descent. The 328 turboprop is cleared for operations at London City.

ScotAirways has 11 daily flights from London City following the recent launch of a service to Edinburgh. It serves Glasgow and Dundee from London's city-centre airport. The Cambridge-based airline's network includes London Luton, Manchester, Norwich, Southampton and Paris Charles de Gaulle. The airline carried about 200,000 passengers last year, compared with 110,000 a year earlier.

Source: Flight International