Airfield performance in hot climates, operational independence and customization flexibility are principal factors behind a recent upsurge of interest in corporate versions of the British Aerospace 146 regional jet and its Avro RJ variant, according to the manufacturer.
BAE Systems Regional Aircraft
Seven years after BAE Systems canceled the ill-fated Avro RJX program, closing the hangar door on indigenous UK airliner production, the company’s regional aircraft division believes its BAe 146 and Avro RJ offerings remain competitive.
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.
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.
“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.
With no full-blown recovery in air transport demand predicted before 2005, regional airlines will be looking for low-cost fleet development solutions for the next couple of years, according to BAE Systems Regional Aircraft senior v-p of asset management Paul Stirling.
BAE Systems Regional Aircraft suggests there might be a large increase in the Persian Gulf-based fleet of British Aerospace 146/Avro RJ regional jets in the next six months. The current four airplanes operating in the area could have grown to as many as 15 by the second quarter of 2008, according to BAE Systems salesman Andy Whelan at an aviation-finance conference here last week.