Lufthansa has sold 10 of its BAE Systems Avro RJ85 regional airliners to the manufacturer and leased them back as part of plans to operate its fleet of 18 of the type "into the second half of this decade".

The German carrier exercised its residual value guarantee (RVG) option on the aircraft, which was included in its original purchase agreement with BAE. Lufthansa has RVG options on some of the other eight aircraft operated by regional subsidiary Lufthansa Cityline, says BAE.

BAE Systems Regional Aircraft managing director Alan Fraser describes Lufthansa's decision to retain its RJ85 fleet as a "significant vote of confidence...that underscores our belief that the Avro RJ and BAe 146 family will remain highly competitive for many years to come".

CityLine had held orders and options for up to 120 Fairchild Dornier 728s before the programme's collapse. "The 728 order was to replace older aircraft and some of them were expansions for the group's fleet. It was never clearly said it was to replace a type," says the airline.

Lufthansa is restructuring its regional division, which will focus on Lufthansa Cityline and affiliate Eurowings and possibly include strengthening links with partner carriers Augsburg Airways and Contact Air.

"We are at a relatively early stage of defining the replacement of the 728. The decision will be finalised this summer. Then we will talk to Bombardier and Embraer about dates of deliveries," says Lufthansa.


Source: Flight International