Manufacturer to concentrate on BAe 125 and 146 to make operation revenue-neutral

BAE Systems is to outsource some of its employee shuttle services as it rationalises its fleet. The move is part of a cost-cutting drive at BAE Systems Corporate Air Travel, the manufacturer's wholly owned flight department subsidiary.

The Warton, UK-based operation is to reduce its fleet by half in a bid to "maximise assets" and comply with a business plan that foresees it transforming from a cost centre into a revenue-neutral operation, according to managing director Nobby Clark.

The company's shuttle fleet comprises eight aircraft. It is to phase out two aircraft types, the Jetstream 31 and ATP (of which it owns two and one, respectively), and is in the process of cutting its fleet of BAe 125 business jets from four to two. Operation of the eight-seat Jetstream 31s will be outsourced, and the contract is likely to include purchase of the aircraft. Clark says: "There are other operators who can make some of the routes more competitive."

Eastern Airways managing director Chris Holliday says that it is in talks with the company to take over several routes. A bid by Highland Airways, which already operates a service from Glasgow Prestwick under a BAE contract, is also being considered. A decision will be taken before year-end.

The flight department is also to charter out the downtime of its BAe 146-100, which operates services to the Eurofighter facility in Munich three days a week, via London Gatwick-based broker Air Charter.

The aircraft has a 66-seat executive configuration and will be available for weekend flights from Warton in north-west England from next month.

It is set to be joined at the beginning of January by a BAe 146-200 in a 97-seat configuration, which will be used by the company on its shuttle between Farnborough, southern England, and Warton, and will also be chartered out.

Source: Flight International