Emma Kelly/LONDON

BAE Systems is expected to announce its second commitment for the Avro RJX on 19 July in a mixed Avro RJ/RJX deal.

The manufacturer declines to comment on the order, but industry sources suggest the customer is a British Airways regional, with the most likely candidate being London Gatwick-based CityFlyer Express, which has been in discussions with the manufacturer for some time on expanding its existing RJ100 fleet.

The unannounced order is believed to involve six firm orders for the current Honeywell LF507-powered RJ100 model, along with six options for the Honeywell AS977-powered RJX-100 version. This would mark the manufacturer's second commitment to the RJ derivative, which was launched with a two-aircraft RJX-85 order from Druk Air of Bhutan earlier this year.

The manufacturer is hoping to sign an additional RJX customer shortly after this month's Farnborough air show. The first RJX is set for delivery in September 2001, but Druk Air is not due to take delivery of its first RJX-85 until November 2001.

CityFlyer confirms that talks are ongoing with the manufacturer, but says that no firm decisions have been made. The airline's plans to expand its regional jet fleet were stalled earlier this year with the departure of former BA chief executive Bob Ayling and the decision not to transfer a number of Gatwick routes to CityFlyer.

Meanwhile, development of the RJX continues, with the manufacturer completing the redesign of the aircraft's engine troubleshooting system in response to requests from the Airline Advisory Board, which is providing input on the aircraft's design.

Source: Flight International