Asset management firm Falko has sold an Avro RJ-series aircraft to UK firm Qinetiq which it will begin operating in the first quarter of this year.

To replace single last examples of the BAC One-Eleven and Hawker Siddeley HS748 Andover, the newly acquired RJ100 will be employed primarily by the UK's Empire Test Pilots' School (ETPS) to support its instruction of test pilots and flight test engineers from Boscombe Down air base in Wiltshire. Additional capacity will be used to support Qinetiq's research and development (R&D) activities, Falko said.

The acquired RJ100, MSN E3368, was built in 2000 according to Flightglobal's Ascend Online database. Powered by four Honeywell ALF507-1F turbofan engines, the regional jet was previously operated by BA Cityflyer.

"The aircraft was delivered to Qinetiq in mid-December and then ferried to Avalon Aero at Cranfield airport, Bedfordshire, for maintenance and modification prior to entering service," Falko said on 16 January. "Qinetiq cited the configuration, handling characteristics and performance of the Avro RJ as positively influencing their decision," it added.

Qinetiq's investment plans are also understood to include the planned future acquisition of one Avro RJ70 transport. This will also be used to support R&D activities and the work of the ETPS.

Source: Air Transport Intelligence news