BAE Systems Regional Aircraft this year will deliver six more of its corporate-configured, four-engine Avro RJs for a variety of business and government operations. Some 23 of the rebranded Avro Business Jets are already in service or undergoing conversion from their original role as regional airliners, with much of the work being done by Inflite Engineering Services at London Stansted Airport.
Bombardier’s sole CRJ1000 prototype took to the air for the first time today, marking the successful start of a flight-test regime expected to last until the fourth quarter of next year. Test pilots Jacques Thibaudeau and Chuck Ellis and flight-test engineer Eugene Lardizabal took off at 10:02 a.m. EDT and flew CRJ1000 S/N 19991 for three hours and 25 minutes. The aircraft reached an altitude of 30,000 feet and a maximum speed of 260 knots.
Horizon Air will ground all 12 of its remaining Bombardier Q200 turboprops by October 28 and begin retiring its CRJ700 regional jets next month under a plan to accelerate its transition to a uniform fleet of Q400 turboprops. Horizon now expects to remove all its 70-seat CRJ700s and add 14 more 76-seat Q400s by the end of next year in an effort to ease the sting of soaring fuel prices.
Austrian all-cargo carrier Amerer Air plans to become the first customer for the re-launched British Aerospace Regional Aircraft BAe 146QT (Quiet Trader) freighter program. Its aircraft, a Series 200 recently converted by Aerostar in Bacau, Romania, is undergoing painting and final maintenance checks in the UK before delivery. The 146QT will be ferried to Linz, Austria, where Amerer Air has created a major logistics center.
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.
Honeywell launched the new TFE731-50 engine here in Orlando on Sunday evening, offering up to 4,900 lb of takeoff thrust and featuring integrated nacelle and thrust reverser systems. The new turbofan is set to achieve certification in 2004.
BAE Systems Aircraft Services Group is looking to build on the success of the deal it forged at the NBAA show last year, when it announced a lease agreement for 10 pre-owned Jetstream 32 twin-turboprops to Corporate Aircraft Partners (CAP). The Cartersville, Ga.-based operator has just received the sixth aircraft for its fractional-leasing program. The 19-seat commuters were converted to 10- to 12-seat configurations for the new service.
The Swiss federal court last month acquitted Crossair chairman Moritz Suter, CEO André Dosé and four other former airline employees of homicide by neglect in connection with the crash of an Avro RJ100 during approach to Zurich Airport on Nov. 24, 2001. The trial began on May 5 at Bellinzona in southern Switzerland. The “not guilty” verdict was read May 16, much earlier than expected.
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.