Denied 428JET, ScotAirways scouting for larger aircraft

 - May 21, 2008, 8:48 AM

Having been frustrated by the cancellation of the Fairchild Dornier 428JET, ScotAirways (the UK regional carrier that previously operated as Suckling Airways) is “looking actively” for an alternative small regional jet as it seeks to add capacity on its mainly British routes. Director Merlyn Suckling said that if the airline had ordered the Fairchild Dornier 328JET it could have upgraded to the larger 428JET.

The abandoned project would have been available “at the ideal time” to enter service in late 2003, when the airline would have been ready to introduce larger aircraft to provide flexibility. “We’re getting to the point where we need more capacity,” said Suckling, who indicated that one factor influencing ScotAirways’ equipment selection is the long lead time associated with some deliveries. The Cambridge-based regional airline, which is celebrating its 15th anniversary, also would need an aircraft that was certified for use at London City, which requires a steep approach to a short runway.

The airline currently is operating a fleet of eight Dornier 328-100s on domestic routes between and among Cambridge, Dundee, Edinburgh, Glasgow, London City and Southampton. International services between Southampton and Dutch capital Amsterdam are being increased in frequency from four to five a day. Suckling said that ScotAirways has found a valuable Dutch market among travelers flying to Southampton to join luxury cruise ships at the south England port.