Cobham acquires former ASL BAe 146QT

For the fourth time this year, a BAe 146 has been delivered to Australia. The newest acquisition is BAe 146-300QT EC-MCL (msn E3154), which has been acquired by Cobham Aviation Services (who outbid Pionair for her). She is the first 146QT to leave the fleet of ASL Airlines Spain, which in February announced its intention to withdraw its 146s and shut down. She operated her last service for FedEx, a roundtrip from Liège to Roma Ciampino as TAY 71M/72L, on 22 February, after which her ASL titles were removed. She departed Liège on 7 March, reaching as far as Darwin on 10 March. She was to have continued to Adelaide the following day, but while she was parked at Darwin her starboard aileron was damaged when it was struck by the winglet of an Embraer Legacy 600 business jet. She was eventually repaired using an aileron borrowed from 146-100QC VH-NJV (msn E1002), which was flown in from Adelaide. By the time repairs were completed, however, the original ferry crew had departed to another assignment. A Cobham crew arrived to take over, but the passage of Cyclone Marcus through the area caused a further delay. She finally arrived in Adelaide on 19 March — almost two weeks after she had left Liège. She has been registered as VH-NJI, but will have to undergo a C check before she enters service. She is actually the third aircraft to be registered as VH-NJI, the other two being also being 4-engined designs from Hatfield: another Cobham RJ100 (msn E3265) and a de Havilland DH-114 Heron operated by aptly-named Heron Airlines.

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