ABJ is a right royal success
The BAE Systems Avro Business Jet (ABJ), which is based on the venerable BAe146/Avro RJ four-engine regional jet, is making its Dubai Airshow debut this week as BAE’s Asset Management arm vies to build on recent successes.
The company now has three aircraft with the Bahrain Defence Force, two with the Dubai Air Wing and one with the Abu Dhabi Presidential Flight–with a second aircraft (a converted RJ100) due in Abu Dhabi by the end of this year. Its success with Middle East royal flights echoes the success of the three 146 aircraft that are part of the Queens Flight in the UK [now Royal Air Force No. 32 (The Royal) Squadron].
However, BAE also is looking to the corporate and private jet market, and has placed an ABJ with Kuwaiti First Trading and Construction plus one with Casino Rodos of Greece–an aircraft ordered at last year’s Middle East Business Aviation (MEBA) show. It also announced earlier this month that it had received an ABJ order from the UK’s Gill Group–a BAe 146-200 that Inflite Engineering Services, its London Stansted Airport-based contractor for ABJ completions–will convert to a 46-seat corporate shuttle.
Gill is a construction company owned by CEO Raj Gill. It has a UAE office and recently completed the runway apron area at Abu Dhabi International Airport.
BAE has also announced that Inflight itself is to purchase an ABJ, “for speculative reasons,” said BAE Systems Asset Management v-p business development Stewart Cordner. The aircraft is being delivered “immediately.”
Inflight is teaming with Linley, the London prestige furniture designer owned by the British Queen’s nephew David Linley, to customize ABJs, widening choice for customers, who already have access to the services of UK design consultancy Design Q for interior design.
Separately, BAE Systems Asset Management has also won a remarketing mandate for a Boeing 767-300ER from a UAE company that recently purchased one of its RJ aircraft.