Avro RJX Cancelled

BAE Systems has announced that it is ending the Avro RJX program. The four Avro RJs still in production will be completed, at which point production will cease. The move comes in response to a drastic fall-off in demand for new aircraft following the 11 September terrorist attacks. “Regrettably it has been concluded that our regional jet business is no longer viable in this environment,” said BAE Systems chief executive John Weston. BAE Systems had been on the verge of securing several orders for the RJX just before 11 September — all subsequently fell through. Still, the move comes as a surprise, given that most development costs will have been spent by now, and orders on hand are sufficient to keep production going for the better part of a year. In recent months, BAE Systems has repeatedly insisted that its low-rate production allowed the RJ and RJX programs to be profitable even with low demand. Depending on how various unfinished RJX airframes on the production line are counted, total BAe 146/Avro RJ/Avro RJX production will now come to about 395 — not far short of the Viscount’s 440 mark, which is still the highest for a British-built turbine-engined airliner. That mark will now never be broken.

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