CHARTER AIRLINE TEA Switzerland has extended its association with Vietnam's second carrier, Pacific Airlines. Since 1 June the South East Asian airline has been wet-leasing a TEA Boeing 737-300, in addition to a 737-200 operated since December 1995.

Pacific Airlines uses the TEA aircraft on domestic services from Ho Chi Minh City to Hanoi and Da Nang, and internationally to Taipei and Kaohsiung.

TEA is acquiring another three 737s in 1997 - one -300 in February and two -700s in November/December - which, says managing director Markus Seiler, are destined to join the Pacific fleet to facilitate international expansion. A service to Macau could kick off the route increase.

TEA operates five 737-300s on its own charter flights from Switzerland. The airline shares the market with Crossair and newcomer Edelweiss Air.

In the financial year to 31 October, 1995, the Swiss airline carried a total of 520,000 passengers and recorded a net profit of SFr5.6 million ($7.1 million) on a turnover of SFr117 million.

The airline has budgeted for a relatively stagnant market, projecting only slight increases in 1996, to 562,000 passengers carried, SFr121 million turnover and profit of SFr6.5 million.

Negotiations for Belgium-based Sabena/Sobelair to take an equity participation in TEA parent company Air Finance, which are believed to have come close to an agreement, have now been terminated. No explanation has been given, but it is understood, that the recent management change at the Belgian airline has resulted in the abandonment of the previous charter strategy.

Source: Flight International