Courtesy, Timor Air

Timor Air (BF) has confirmed it signed a memorandum of understanding with a partner carrier and is gearing up for jet operations.

Newly appointed CEO James Stewart Kim, managing director of AvCon Worldwide Ltd., told ATW that the fledgling airline expects to start jet operations in “three to four months time” after entering into an agreement with AvCon, a London-based aviation consulting firm, to manage the business.

BF launched last July in a partnership with Vincent Aviation and had served the daily Dili (DIL)-Darwin (DRW) route. Last week Australian media reported the carrier ceased operations.

However, Kim told ATW that “on the same date” of the reports, “I was signing a deal with a jet operator for a partnership deal to operate jet aircraft.” Kim declined to name the operator “until we complete the regulatory process as per our agreement with our partner carrier. It is a current scheduled carrier of another country,” he said in an email, adding, “We actually planned to keep this jet operation news confidential for a while but we have decided to release it as we do not want any more speculative rumors around.”

The carrier had one SAAB 340B in its fleet, operated by Vincent Aviation.

According to Kim, the Saab 340’s “slower cruising speed” and “limitation of luggage allowance” made it difficult for the carrier to compete against Darwin-based Airnorth’s Embraer E-170 on the DIL-DRW route.

“Timor Air appointed me as its CEO last month and I have completed a deal to operate jet aircraft on Dili-Darwin route as well as other routes we are planning,” he told ATW.

According to a BF statement, initial planned routes will also include DIL-Perth using larger aircraft, which will offer “up to 124 seats in a two-class configuration, including 12 business class seats.” BF said it is also planning to launch services to Denpasar and Singapore.