It doesn’t seem that long ago that I was quaffing an ale or two with British Aerospace personnel at the Crooked Chimney Pub in Hatfield discussing the forthcoming BAe 146 aircraft, noted for its quiet operations and a tail registration on the prototype of G-SSSH. Earlier this month, British Aerospace and Swiss celebrated the 27th anniversary of continuous operations of the BAe146/Avro RJ by Swiss and its predecessor companies.
The BAe/AVRO series at Swiss is being phased out, and the final aircraft is scheduled to be replaced by the Bombardier CSeries this August. Third party lessors have already begun placing leased aircraft with other airlines.
The first operations by Swiss began in 1990 with operations by Crossair, which operated both the -200 and -300 series. One of the reasons for selecting the aircraft was the ability to fly into noise restricted Lugano airport.
In 1992, Crossair began operations at London City Airport, a route that continues to be operated 25 years later. Over the years, the Swiss fleet grew to 20 RJ 100s, and this aircraft became the regional backbone of Swiss European operations.
Until recently, the unique runway performance and quiet operations of the aircraft were difficult to duplicate. The entry into service of the Bombardier CSeries, which is more efficient, quieter, and can also fly into London City airport, will replace these aircraft at major carriers, relegating the 146/Avro RJ to secondary airlines.
The 146 has had a long and successful run, and its unique design remains unmistakeable on the ramp. Congratulations to BAE Systems on the strong longevity and support for the aircraft, which is expected to continue in operations with secondary and cargo airlines.