BAE links with interiors firm to offer speedy VIP conversions

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BAE Systems Regional Aircraft is stoking what it claims to be rising interest in its BAe 146/Avro RJ business jet by teaming up with a pair of completion and interior design firms that the airframer believes will help customers dramatically speed up a VIP completion.

Customers are being recommended to UK maintenance, repair and overhaul and fixed-base operator Inflite Engineering Services, as well as UK interiors consultancy Design Q.

An RJ70 currently being completed by Inflite Engineering Services at London Stansted for Hemus Air of Bulgaria, and likely to be delivered this year, is the first with a Design Q-inspired interior. It features a modern, innovative mood-lit cabin with a double club 4 executive seating and dining and divan area, with a separate 12-seat business-class seating cabin for company support staff.

BAE spokesman David Dorman says there is no contractual arrangement between the companies, but BAE believes that customers will be able to short-cut the often-lengthy completion process by going with Inflite or Design Q, whether they buy an aircraft from BAE or another seller.

An Avro RJ100 delivered to the Bahrain Defence Force in early May was completed to VIP configuration in just 20 weeks, says Dorman.

Other customers taking BAE business jets this year include Dubai Air Wing, which has acquired two RJ85s for government duties, First Kuwaiti Trading & Contracting, which has bought a BAe 146-200 to be used as a corporate shuttle, and another undisclosed European operator who has purchased an RJ70.