Airlink adds four Avro RJ85s, extends two J41 leases

BAE Systems has announced today that South African regional feeder carrier Airlink is to acquire four Avro RJ85s and at the same time extended the leases on two Jetstream 41s.

Airlink currently operates a fleet of four RJ85s alongside four BAe 146-200s and these latest RJ85s are being planned as replacements for the BAe 146s. The resulting fleet commonality is expected to generate operational and cost benefits for Airlink. The RJ85s are scheduled to be delivered between September 2010 and January 2011. Each BAe 146-200 will be returned to BAE Systems upon delivery of each RJ85.

The Airlink RJ/146 fleet has been successfully supported by the BAE Systems Regional Aircraft JetSpares programme since entering into service in 2007 and the newly delivered RJ85s will also be fully enrolled onto JetSpares. The programme provides extensive on-site and pool stock rotable spares coverage.

Airlink’s lease extension of the two Jetstream 41s, which had been scheduled to return to BAE Systems later this year, means that these aircraft will now remain in service alongside the airline’s additional fleet of 12 Jetstream 41s. The carrier also operates eight Embraer ERJ135s.

Announcing these transactions, Paul Stirling, executive vice-president asset management of BAE Systems Regional Aircraft, commented, “Airlink’s acquisition of additional RJ85 aircraft further strengthens our relationship with one of our key customers. Their commitment to the aircraft is testimony to its continued economic competitiveness and demonstrates that the performance of the aircraft delivers significant benefits for our customers today and into the future.”

Rodger Foster, CEO and managing director of Airlink, remarked, ”We derive real value from our relationship with BAE Systems Regional Aircraft and we are delighted to have been able to agree terms with them to further develop our fleet for the benefit of our customers.”

The aircraft being delivered to Airlink were previously operated by Lufthansa CityLine.

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