Shandong Airlines has dropped plans to acquire two more Bombardier Challenger 604 executive jets. But the carrier is going ahead with a proposal to buy five Cessna 208 Caravans.

Shareholders have approved the decision by the company's board to cap the Challenger fleet at two and proceed with the Caravan order. It appears demand for executive jet charters, in China and elsewhere in Asia, has failed to meet expectations, despite an agreement signed in December between US-based Bombardier subsidiary Flexjet and Shandong to make the aircraft available to Flexjet Asia.

Shandong expects to transfer its second Challenger to Rainbow Jet, its charter subsidiary, which operates the first one. Both were leased earlier this year from General Electric Capital Aviation Services.

Plans to buy five Caravans to provide cargo and passenger services on thin routes and to remote areas were first revealed in March 2001.

According to Cessna, in November 2000, Shandong had ordered one Grand Caravan and two Caravan 675s, equipped with amphibious floats, with options for 37 more Caravans.

One of the three amphibious Caravans has already been sold to Rainbow Jet. Now shareholders have approved the transfer of the remaining two.

Source: Flight International