Aerospace, which employs 12,000 people in the UK and is worth an annual £20 billion ($39.8 billion) to the country’s gross domestic product, “will remain central to the British economy and our future as a high-tech manufacturing nation.”
That a bomber which first entered service in the late 1950s should still excite attention whenever it appears in the skies is obvious to those fortunate enough to see it, and those attending the Farnborough airshow on Wednesday, Friday, Saturday or Sunday this week could share their experience.
Under an agreement reached in late January, BAE Systems will not have to build the 12 Avro RJX quad-jets ordered by Exeter, UK-based British European. BAE Systems canceled the ill-fated Avro RJX program on November 27 due to weak market demand and strong pricing pressures. But the company faced the prospect of fulfilling its obligation to build the dozen airplanes over a five-year period if British European insisted.
Farnborough International, which organizes this world-famous airshow for parent company the Society of British Aerospace Companies (SBAC), may have felt cursed when a freak British heat wave in July 2006 triggered serious power failures as air conditioners struggled to keep temperatures under control.
BAE Systems may have to build another 14 of its Avro RJX regional jets, despite announcing its intention to scrap the program in late November. The UK manufacturer is now seeking to renegotiate contracts with launch customers British European Airways (BEA) and Druk Air of Bhutan. The British operator placed an order for 12 RJXs and options for another eight, and Druk Air holds a firm order for two.
Switzerland’s Crossair suffered its second fatal accident in less than two years on November 24, when one of the regional airline’s Avro RJ100s crashed into a wooded area on approach to Zurich Airport, killing 24 of the 33 on board. Flight LX3597, en route from Berlin, went down during a snow shower shortly after 10 p.m., some two miles short of Zurich’s 8,200-ft Runway 28.
“Wake up, smell the coffee: the Avro Business Jet (ABJ) has arrived!” is the message from BAe Systems Regional Aircraft and two new partners announced here yesterday. As reported in Tuesday’s EBACE Convention News, the UK manufacturer has teamed with maintenance and cabin-interiors specialists to provide a one-stop shop for prospective customers looking for a large-capacity corporate jet.
This morning, BAE Systems Regional Aircraft (Booth No. 2055) plans to reveal teaming arrangements with a completion center and a design house for the Avro Business Jet (ABJ), a corporate version of its BAe 146/Avro RJ regional-quadjet, for which it claims “all-time high” market interest. “Sales of the aircraft have taken off in the past twelve months,” said sales executive Andy Whelan.
BAE Systems Regional Aircraft has completed four months of test flights in its new Avro RJX85, leaving officials “very confident” of meeting, if not exceeding, the 15- to 20-percent-enhanced fuel burn and other performance-improvement targets set for the 80- to 112-seat quad-jet.
Attending its first ERA assembly since abandoning development of the Avro RJX regional jet series late last year, BAE Systems was able to announce a wave of new lease deals. Turkish Airlines extended its lease for 12 Avro RJs–nine RJ100s and three RJ70s–for the third time since taking the aircraft in 1993.