British Aerospace Regional Aircraft has announced that will begin to conditionally offer a new version of the Avro RJ, the Avro RJX, to airlines, to be powered by the AlliedSignal AS977-1A engine. The AS977 would make the RJX even quieter than the RJ, while offering 17% more range, 15% lower fuel burn, 5% additional thrust in climb, and about 20% lower direct engine maintenance costs. Like the current RJ family, the RJX would have 70-seat, 85-seat and 100-seat variants. A formal launch decision is planned for the fall of the year, subject to business conditions, project definition, and commitments by risk sharing suppliers. Under this schedule, certification would be achieved in late 2000, with service entry in mid 2001. “With the RJX, we believe we have the perfect cost-effective solution to the needs of expanding regional airlines who, especially in Europe, are conscious of the weight penalties of moving into the heavier mainline jets,” Regional Aircraft Managing Director Mike O’Callaghan said. It would also be possible to retrofit AS977 engines to existing Avro RJs; as the AS977 is lighter than the current LF507, only minor changes would be needed.