Syphax Airlines (SYA, Sfax) has ended widebody operations with the return of its sole A330-200 - TS-IRA (cn 345) - to Airbus Leasing. In a statement to the AeroTunisie aviation portal, the carrier said it had reached an agreement with the lessor regarding the final recovery of the jet which, since October last year, has been grounded in Jeddah following a serious engine malfunction.

The jet was part of the carrier's ambitious expansion programme to develop Tunis into an intercontinental hub linking the Eastern hemisphere with the Western. However, its initial foray into the transatlantic market with Montréal Trudeau flights failed to gain enough traction resulting in the route's downgrading to seasonal status just 4 months after its launch.

Syphax has meanwhile said it has signed a USD60million charter agreement with an unspecified tour operator. The deal will involve the carrier's only two remaining aircraft - a pair of A319-100s.