Syrian lifeline for Orionair

Syrian Pearl BAe 146-300 EC-JVO

Orionair’s BAe 146-300 EC-JVO was rolled out at Madrid with Syrian Pearl’s logo and titles (José R. Valero)

Spanish airline Orionair has received a one-year ACMI contract to operate its two BAe 146s on behalf of a new Syrian airline, Syrian Pearl. Syrian Pearl, a joint venture of Cham Holding, Syrianair, Kuwaiti company Aqeeq Aviation, and several individual investors, will be Syria’s first private scheduled airline. Operations are scheduled to begin in May. Initial services will focus on domestic routes from Damascus, with three daily roundtrips to Aleppo and two daily roundtrips to Deir el-Zor and al-Qamishli, as well as a twice weekly roundtrip to Lattakia. Regional and international destinations will be added later. The Syrian Pearl contract, which was signed on 27 March, rescues Orionair from what had appeared to be a bleak future. The airline’s BAe 146s have been parked at Madrid’s Barajas airport for some time, following the loss of its contract with VolaSalerno in December, and lessor Korda-Mentha Administrators had been planning to repossess the two aircraft and part them out. In anticipation of the resumption of operations, BAe 146-300 EC-JVJ (msn E3195) was ferried to Exeter on 24 April for maintenance, while EC-JVO (msn E3179) had Syrian Pearl’s logo and titles applied at Madrid. The checkflights for the Orionair crews are being conducted by Aviation Quality Control (Europe) Ltd., a company founded by former and current Eurowings and WDL Aviation staff.

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