Air Botnia's deal last week for four whitetail BAE Systems Avro RJs marks the final chapter in the demise of UK airliner production.

The Finnish regional airline, which is part of the SAS Group, has signed a deal with BAE Regional Aircraft for the long-term operating lease of the last four RJs - two Avro RJ85s and two Avro RJ100s. These aircraft were among the last batch of the four-engined aircraft that were being completed at BAE's Woodford plant when the programme was terminated in November 2001.

The aircraft, which have been in storage at the Airbus UK plant in Filton, will be delivered to Air Botnia in November, joining five Avro RJ85s already in service. As part of the deal, the leases on the existing Avros have been extended for a "further substantial period", says BAE. The four new aircraft will be used to increase capacity on its network from Helsinki to Copenhagen and Stockholm and on routes to other European destinations.

Counting the final four aircraft, total BAe 146/RJ deliveries stand at 390 (220 146s and 170 RJs), the highest production run of any UK-built jet airliner. This includes the 22-year-old prototype BAe 146, soon to start meteorological service.

Source: Flight International