Transavia, the Dutch all-Boeing operator, has been forced to wet-lease an Airbus A310-300 for five months because of continuing delays in the delivery of its new Boeing 737-800s.

The airline had been planning to introduce the new 189-seat 737 at the beginning of its 1998 summer season in April, but now says that first delivery is not expected until mid-June. The slippage comes as Boeing struggles to meet production commitments, and undertakes time-consuming retrofits to early build Next Generation 737s with the new overwing emergency exit design developed to meet European Joint Aviation Authorities exit limit requirements.

The 254-seat A310-300 is being wet-leased from Luxembourg based Translux from May to September for use on Transavia's charter and scheduled services, alongside its fleet of 737-300s and 757s. Orders are held for eight 737-800s, plus 12 options.

Commenting on the introduction of an Airbus to its all-Boeing fleet, Transavia president Peter Legro says: "We will watch the operation of the Airbus this summer with interest."

Source: Flight International