Italian start-ups eye BAe 146


Several new airlines are considering adding to Italy’s already sizeable BAe 146 and Avro RJ fleet. Most advanced is Goldwing Airlines, which has already acquired a former Air Botswana BAe 146-100 and is planning to begin operations from Taranto to Roma Fiumicino (twice daily) and Milano (daily) on 20 December. A second BAe 146, this time a series 200, is expected to be acquired in spring 2001. Goldwing had originally planned to fly from Palermo, but the entry of British Airways franchisee National Jet Italia (NJI) into that market led to a change of plans. Also in Sicily, Air Sicilia is considering replacing its two leased Boeing 737-200s with four BAe 146-200s. Air Sicilia recently began service from Catania and Palermo to Bologna, using a low-fare model patterned on Southwest and EasyJet. Air Sicilia had already operated a BAe 146 in 1994, on lease from Mistral Air. Meanwhile, a coalition of Genoa-based companies is examining the possibility of starting an airline to fill the gap left by Alitalia’s reduction of service to the city and to provide night-time cargo services. The BAe 146 is one of the aircraft types under consideration, along with Canadair Regional Jets. Four Italian airlines already operate BAe 146s and Avro RJs: Azzurra Air flies five RJ70s and three RJ85s on behalf of Alitalia Express; Meridiana operates four BAe 146-200s from Florence; National Jet Italia (NJI) flies three BAe 146-300s on British Airways franchise flights from Rome; and Mistral Air uses two BAe 146-200QTs on domestic cargo flights.
2000-10-28

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