Published on Tuesday, October 21, 2008

Astraeus in talks with non-European long-haul start-up

Astraeus claims to be in talks with a non-European long-haul start-up airline interested in leasing its aircraft.

After having switched from being a scheduled and charter airline to providing dry, damp and wet lease aircraft, the Gatwick-based airline said it is now looking to sign contracts for long-haul aircraft, as well as short- and medium-haul, to meet demand.

Astraeus management are in advanced negotiations for more Boeing equipment, as well as Airbus 320s - but have also been approached to advise on the non-European long-haul start-up.

It said its existing fleet of Boeing 737 and 757 aircraft have been almost completely committed, but it is maintaining a degree of flexibility by retaining ad hoc aircraft to address short-notice demand.

"We are equally capable of supporting short-haul low-cost as long-haul full-service operations, and, indeed, we are carefully evaluating the long-haul market in parallel with our existing operations and contracts - and we do see clear potential," said chief executive Mario Fulgoni.

"We have historically been exclusively Boeing - with both 737 and 757 aircraft on the fleet - but we expect to welcome Airbus equipment into the company very soon to address requests from a number of carriers, and there is a cautious possibility of moving for even larger aircraft.”

By Bev Fearis

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