Syphax Airlines (SYA, Sfax) is planning to resume operations in Spring 2019 and is currently looking for an investor which would provide narrowbody aircraft in addition to two CRJ-900ERs the airline has already secured, Forbes has reported.

The airline has been dormant since 2015 when it suspended services mainly due to a crisis in inbound Tunisian tourism. It is currently undergoing recertification with the Tunisian Civil Aviation Authority. CEO and founder Mohamed Frikha told Forbes he expected to get a new Air Operator's Certificate (AOC) in October 2018.

Initially, the carrier would offer its two ex-Air Nostrum CRJ900ERs for wet-lease services during the Winter 2018/19 season, ahead of the launch of its own routes in March or April 2019. Syphax Airlines said it would offer "priority" to flag carrier Tunisair if it needs additional regional jet capacity.

The carrier intends to connect Tunis, Djerba, and Sfax to destinations in North Africa and Europe, with Paris and Toulouse Blagnac floated as the first routes.

Syphax Airlines also intends to add narrowbody aircraft to further boost its network in the region and offer sixth-freedom services between Africa and Europe via Tunisia. For that, however, it needs an investor.

"It can be European partners or Middle East partners. What we need from our partner is only aircraft, because here in Tunisia we have not many aircraft," Frikha said, underlining that Syphax Airlines is not short of pilots, crew members, and engineers.

Short of going into any details, Frikha mentioned A320-200s or B737-800s as potential narrowbody types.

He also added that Syphax would make sure to ascertain that the potential investor does not intend to threaten the position of Tunisair. Although Syphax Airlines had competed bitterly with the flag carrier before 2015, Frikha now says it would seek an amicable relation with Tunisair.

"We will not be a competitor to Tunisair. We will complete the activity of Tunisair with the regional flights," Frikha said, mentioning the relation between Iberia and Air Nostrum as an example.