BAE Systems Regional Aircraft believes it will see off the imminent challenge of the Airbus A318, insisting its legacy BAe 146/Avro RJ series regional jets will continue to dominate at operationally restricted London City airport, writes Aimee Turner.

Steve Doughty, BAE's vice-president sales and marketing, asset management, dismisses the threat posed by the Airbus A318 following trials of a modified version capable of using the airport's steep approach and short runway.

"It's an aircraft that really is not designed for that airport. They're having to do some scary things with that aircraft - no I won't call them scary, let's call them 'interesting' things - to let it do that," he says. "The BAe 146 has done the job for many years and will continue for many more."

Bombardier's Dash 8 Q400 is the largest turboprop cleared for operation at the airport. The Embraer 170 twinjet is undergoing testing and is due to receive steep approach certification this year. The manufacturer has started the campaign for the E-190, with approval expected in 2008.

"We will offer airlines the possibility to fly further and reach destinations such as Madrid, Oslo and Vienna from the heart of London," says Embraer executive vice-president airline market Fred Curado.

Source: Flight International