British Aerospace confirmed this week that its Aero International Regional airliner joint venture with France and Italy has now all but collapsed, though some kind of weak cooperation may continue.
AIR combines BAe’s Avro RJ jet and Jetstream turboprop businesses with the ATR regional turboprop combine linking France’s Aerospatiale and Italy’s Alenia. AIR was to have developed its own new regional jet airliners.
BAe said: ‘It is very likely that the Avro marketing team will concentrate on marketing the Avro range and the ATR team will do the same for the ATR range of turboprops.’
Marketing and customer support teams will stay in Toulouse in France, BAe said. ‘There is no intention to return to the UK. There will be some form of AIR umbrella,’ BAe believes, even though marketing will now be separated.
‘It is under discussion what the organisation will then look like and what areas of cooperation will continue,’ BAe said.
Last year BAe said the AIR partners had unanimously decided on commercial grounds against developing a 70 80-seat regional airliner.
But the ATR partners are known to have been unhappy with this decision, as they wanted to see the new jet developed.
BAe would not comment on the threat of ATR now launching its own regional jet to rival Avro’s RJ range.
Final assembly of Avro RJs takes place at Woodford near Manchester, with parts also made at BAe sites at Chadderton, Brough, Filton and Prestwick.
Support for leased Avro RJs and Jetstreams will continue within what is now BAe Regional Aircraft.