British Airways (BA) ditched its business jet charter service just six months after launching it with charter broker Air Partner, the result of cost-cutting after September 11. Meanwhile, Virgin Atlantic said it is reconsidering its plans to operate business aircraft through a program dubbed Virgin Jetset.
The U.S. Department of Justice (DoJ) raided the homes of a number of U.S.-based BAE executives in connection with allegations about corruption at BAE Systems. The DoJ also temporarily detained outgoing BAE Systems chief executive Mike Turner and a senior colleague, when they arrived at Houston Airport from the UK.
The UK’s BAE Systems has scrapped the RJX regional jet program and will shut down all future RJ production after it finishes four airplanes currently in production. BAE said the company had orders for only 14 RJXs and that an already poor market exacerbated by the events of September 11 would mean losing money on every RJ sold. The company emphasized it will continue to provide support for all customer BAE RJs.
Hawker Pacific, a leading general aviation sales and support company throughout Asia, is to be sold by Sweden’s Saab group to Lynton International Holdings of the UK. The deal has been agreed in principle for an undisclosed amount and should be completed over the next few months.
“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.
The UK’s Coventry West Midland International Airport now has a new business aviation center. Called Midwest Executive Aviation, the new facility, which is on the south side of the airport, has replaced a temporary executive terminal that opened in December on the north side. That facility is now being demolished.
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.
Jeffersons Private Jet Holidays launched a luxury vacation service using chartered business aircraft. The London-based company is offering short-break packages, including flights, top-class hotels and limousines, at prices starting at around $3,800 for a three-night stay in Paris. The jets chartered by Jeffersons include UK-based Citation CJ1s, IIs and Excels, as well as Learjet 45s.
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.