BAE Systems abandons its RJ100 cargo conversion programme

Emilie Drab
20/09/2017 | 273 words
BAE Systems abandons its RJ100 cargo conversion programme
© BAE Systems Regional Aircraft
BAE Systems has suspended its plans to converts Avro RJ100s into cargo aircraft, at least for the time being. The British aircraft manufacturer explains that there are several reasons behind its decision, notably not enough commitment from the market to make the programme financially viable, along with the decision by ASL Airlines to put the eight BAe146-300 QTs (Quiet Tanker) of its Spanish subsidiary (ex-PAN air) up for sale.

The return to the market of these aircraft which were originally built as freighters - and of which around thirty were produced - calls into question the perspectives for the BAE Systems project. The aircraft manufacturer is waiting for the situation to improve before trying again.

BAE Systems had announced that it was working on the programme in August 2016. It had explained that it was planning to offer a modification kit adapted initially to the Avro RJ100, which had begun to be withdrawn from service but whose operational life may be extended to 60 000 cycles thanks to a Life Extension Package.

Since it had the potential to be available from the end of 2017, the Avro RJ100 P2F was positioning itself between cargo twin-engine turboprop aircraft (with a maximum revenue payload of around 6 tonnes) and the Boeing 737 Classics (19 tons). The Avro RJ Freighter would have been able to carry up to 14 tonnes of cargo. BAE Systems had also estimated its acquisition cost for airlines at between 3.2 and 4.3 million dollars - between 1 and 1.5 million dollars for the airframe and between 2.2 and 2.8 million dollars for the conversion kit. The conversion work was scheduled to take three months.
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