British Aerospace has joined the growing number of regional aircraft manufacturers in the corporate aircraft business by announcing plans to develop a variant of its Avro Regional Jet (RJ). The Avro Corporate Jet will be offered with seating for up to 60.

"We will offer the interior of a Boeing Business Jet , the range of a Bombardier Challenger 601, the quietness and power of a Gulfstream IV, the direct operating costs of a GII and the airfield performance of a Dassault Falcon 50 for around $30 million," claims BAe. It hopes the high-profile image of the RJ ancestor, the BAe 146, operated by dignitaries such as the UK's Royal Family, will stimulate interest.

The four-engined AlliedSignal LF507-powered aircraft also boasts a cruise speed of about 410kt (760km/h). The Woodford, UK-based company forecasts a market for two or three Avro Business Jet sales a year, and claims to be holding discussions with more than 20 potential operators, including a major US car manufacturer that requires "-corporate shuttle transport capable of accessing 5,500ft [1,680m] runways". BAe in addition plans to launch a re-engined RJ, the RJX, also to be available in corporate form.

BAe's Asset Management Jets (AMJ) is seeing an increase in demand for the pre-owned BAe 146 family, of which there about six corporate aircraft in operation.

Source: Flight International