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PICTURES:Renewed BAe 146QT freighter performs first flight

BAE Systems’ first example of its British Aerospace 146QT freighter has performed its first flight since the conversion programme was restarted last year.

The aircraft is an ex-Flybe BAe 146-200, with serial number E2099, and it took off from Romanian company Aerostar’s centre at Bacau on 25 June.

Modification to the aircraft has included installation of a large freight-door – which is being manufactured by Romanian firm Avioane Criaova – and the fitting of an E-class freight interior, which features a 9g bulkhead, cargo-handling equipment, smoke-detection systems and a loadmaster seat.

Aerostar has also undertaken a heavy maintenance check on the aircraft.

A spokesman for BAE Systems says the company is “very close” to securing a launch customer for the jet, and is in the process of finalising details.

Around 30 BAe 146 freighters were originally converted from the manufacturer’s production line, and almost all remain in service with carriers such as Australian Air Express and TNT Airways.