BAE loses launch customer for revived 146QT conversion programme

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BAE Systems has lost its launch customer for the resurrected BAe 146QT cargo conversion programme, after a delay to the completion of the first aircraft prompted Amerer Air to cancel its contract.

The programme was revived in 2007 when BAE selected Aerostar in Bacau, Romania to carry out the work. The first converted aircraft - an ex-Flybe BAe 146-200 - flew on 25 June 2008. It was rolled out in August in the colours of Austrian cargo airline Amerer Air after painting by Air Livery in Southend, UK.

However, delivery was not completed and the aircraft is now being remarketed, says Steve Doughty, vice-president sales and marketing at BAE Regional Aircraft Asset Management.

bae146 qt bae
 © BAE Systems

"Unfortunately the completion of the aircraft conversion was delayed and ultimately Amerer elected not to take it," he says. "It is regrettable, but last-minute snags do arise with such projects and this, the first ever passenger to freighter conversion of a 146, has proved not to be immune from that."

Amerer Air declines to comment on the reason for its decision to terminate the deal, or whether it has any plans to acquire a 146QT in the future.

Doughty says that despite the setback, the first QT conversion will be completed as planned. "The second conversion, a -300, is also under way," he adds.