Air International 2007-04
S.Skinner - British Aerospace 146 - Britain's Last Airliner /Commercial/
Prototype BAe 146, G-SSSH, touches down after its maiden flight from Hatfield on September 3, 1981 while the chase aircraft, BAe 125 G-BFAN, overshoots.
BAE Systems final major development of the 146 was named the RJX. However, the programme was cancelled in November 2001 for reasons which included the small number of firm orders (14) and the downturn in the market which followed the 9/11 terrorist attacks.
Making a sprightly departure from Innsbruck Airport is Malmo Aviation Avro RJ100, SE-DSX, wearing a special livery to advertise a Swedish financial newspaper.
British Aerospace originally launched two variants of the 146 that could be used for cargo - the Quiet Convertible and Quiet Trader. BAE Systems has showed renewed interest in the freighter market and is to convert two passenger 146-200s to this role. A new operator of the Quiet Trader is West Air Sweden, which added this aircraft, SE-DRN, in October last year.
Unique among the 146/RJ fleet is G-LUXE, operated as an atmospheric research aircraft. As well as task-specific equipment, it is also fitted with extra fuel tanks to increase endurance.
New carriers continue to find the 146/RJ family attractive as their first aircraft. Indian operator MDLR Airlines decided to opt for two RJ70s as many of the airports it flies to have short runways, basic infrastructure and are in mountainous terrain.
High-profile airlines are still supporters of the 146/RJ family, and aircraft can be found in the colours of British Airways, Swiss, Lufthansa Cityline and Air France, for example. The latter’s aircraft are operated by Dublin-based CityJet, a subsidiary of the French flag-carrier.