BAE Systems is planning to offer Russian airlines the Avro RJ85 to fill a much needed capacity gap

BAE Systems is planning to offer Russian airlines the Avro RJ85 to fill a much needed capacity gap

BAE Systems announced today in Moscow that it will offer Russian airlines the Avro RJ85 regional jetliner as an immediate replacement for ageing aircraft operated on domestic and regional routes.

A fleet of 13 ex-Lufthansa RJ85s are coming back off-lease to BAE Systems beginning in March and continuing through to 2011.  This particular variant is certificated under the Russian Interstate Aviation Committee airworthiness rules and so is capable of being operated in Russia and CIS countries.

Russian airlines have long recognised the value and utility of the ‘100-seat’ regional jet sector and over 320 aircraft in this category are currently operational, but with an average age of 22 years.

Among these are nearly 200 Russian aircraft, such as the Tupolev Tu-134 and Yakovlev Yak-42 which are nearing the end of their useful lives, are relatively fuel inefficient and have high operating costs and are, in some cases, noise restricted and so unable to be operated to and from the European Union.

New modern generation Russian and CIS designed and built replacement aircraft will not be available in the volume production quantities necessary for some years to come. The Antonov An-148 has only just entered service, while the Sukhoi Superjet is still going through its certification programme.

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A key element of the BAE Systems offer is that whilst the RJ85 can provide immediate capacity to help solve airlines’ needs, this used aircraft solution is complementary to the aspirations of the Russian aerospace industry as it gradually gears up to volume production to offer replacement aircraft in sufficient numbers.

Nigel Benson, Director Sales and Leasing for BAE Systems Asset Management said today: “Our offering to Russian airlines is simple. We know they urgently need capacity now as the existing aircraft will not remain in service for much longer. The RJ85 is affordable and is fully backed by BAE Systems with a complete suite of support services.”

He added: The ex-Lufthansa RJ85 aircraft are naturally to a high specification with 93 seats and are fully European Aviation Safety Agency (EASA) compliant. They are fitted with long-range tanks and are to a common specification. They are fully Stage 3 noise complaint and are capable of meeting the proposed Stage 4 limits. With a long service life remaining, they will make ideal interim aircraft for airlines that are waiting for locally produced aircraft to come on stream over the next five years.”

BAE Systems Regional Aircraft provides its customers with managed solutions for aircraft portfolios, fleet support and engineering. In addition to a trading portfolio of over 200 aircraft, a proven track record in aircraft remarketing and lease management services and a broad base of aircraft support solutions, Regional Aircraft also provides engineering expertise for both commercial aircraft and defence platforms.