Last Update: at 16:25

Greece

Will Astra Airlines return with Comac C919s?

A Chinese fund wants to revive the Greek regional airline. But many questions on Astra Airlines 2.0 remain unanswered.

Simeon Lüthi/aeroTELEGRAPH

ATR 42 of Astra on approach to Chios Airport.

After Astra Airlines had had to cease operations last November, it also handed back its Air Operator Certificate (AOC). Although the management stated that a restart was planned, few believed it.

As Greek newspaper Kathimerini reports, four foreign investors were interested in a stake in the Greek regional airline. They come from China, India and the USA. Talks with one of the interested Chinese parties are said to be well advanced.

Restart with new fleet

According to the report, the Shanghai-based fund would have already since signed a letter of intent, but the outbreak of the coronavirus epidemic has put those plans on hold. Plans for the restart of Astra Airlines, however, already seem to be quite concrete.

The Chinese plan a complete renewal of the fleet, which at the moment consists of two ATR 42, one ATR 72 and one BAE 146. The new planes will not come from Europe or the US though. According to Kathimerini, Astra is to restart its operations with Comac C919. Up to 26 aircraft from China are to be ordered for this purpose.

Many unanswered questions

However, there are still a few unanwswered questions. First of all, the C919 has not yet been certified in Europe. It is unclear when exactly that will happen, especially after the recent delay of the project.

And: According to the newspaper, the fund plans to buy «up to» 51 percent of the shares. But according to EU law this is not possible if the buyers will really be Chinese.

We’re on a break. Due to the Coronavirus pandemic we have decided to halt our English publication for a while and concentrate on our other ventures. But we’ll be back. Meanwhile you can find all our news, insights and more on our German site.


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