Avro RJ competitors make strides

While BAe Regional Aircraft completes final design on the re-engined Avro RJX in anticipation of a formal launch decision, competitors have poached two of its high-profile customers. In April, Lufthansa announced it would order 60 Fairchild 728JETs, with 60 more on option (Lufthansa’s regional subsidiary CityLine had earlier ordered 10 CRJ-700s from Bombardier as an interim measure). In June, Crossair became launch customer for Embraer’s new regional jet family, with 30 orders for the 70-seat ERJ-170 and 30 for the larger, 108-seat ERJ-190-200, an order that may also pave the way for other SAirGroup members such as SABENA. First deliveries of the 728JET are scheduled for the spring of 2002. The ERJ-170 is scheduled to enter service in late 2002, with the ERJ-190-200 following in early 2004, although many analysts see both schedules as optimistic. Meanwhile, Bombardier’s new 70-seat CRJ-700 made its first flight on 27 May. A launch decision on the larger BRJX remains pending.

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