BAE 146s to Service $100 Million Australian Freight Contract

Cobham Aviation Services Australia has bought three BAE 146QT (Quiet Trader)) freighters from BAE Systems to service a renewed A$100 million air freight contract awarded by Australian air Express.

The three BAE 146QTs have been leased from BAE Systems since the early 1990s and Cobham has been providing aircrew and maintenance support for the aircraft to Australian air Express (AaE) under a series of contracts over the years.

The aircraft carry 20,000 tonnes of freight every year on high-capacity, high-priority overnight services linking Brisbane, Sydney, Melbourne and Adelaide.

The renewal of the freighter contract between Cobham and AaE takes the 17-year relationship into its third decade. AaE is Australia’s leading air freight provider and is jointly owned by Qantas and Australia Post.

The BAe 146QTs operate at near 100 per cent on-time reliability – vital in the air freight industry. The two Series 300s, based in Adelaide and Brisbane, each carry up to 11.5 tonnes of freight, while the BAe 146-100QT, based in Cairns, carries 7.5 tonnes.

As well as providing significant and cost-effective freight capacity, the BAe 146QTs have a low noise profile which allows Cobham to operate scheduled services during curfew hours, ensuring that critical overnight mail and freight is delivered on time.

Steve Doughty, Senior Vice President Sales & Marketing for the Asset Management business of BAE Systems said:

“Cobham Aviation Services Australia has been a valued and long-standing customer of ours for around 20 years and has operated numerous BAe 146s during that time. The BAe 146/Avro RJ family has a lot to offer the Australian market and will remain in service there for many years to come and we look forward to a continuing and developing relationship with Cobham.”

In addition to the three freighters, the company operates a further 10 BAe 146 Series 100, 200 and 300s on behalf of multinational mining companies on Fly in- Fly Out (FIFO) contracts, notably in Western Australia. A single Avro RJ 70 is also operated on scheduled air services for Australia’s Indian Ocean Territories of Christmas Island and Cocos (Keeling) Islands.

In addition to the BAe 146QT purchase, Cobham has also extended a lease on a BAe 146-300 passenger airliner (E3217) with BAE Systems.

BAE Systems Asset Management continues to market the BAe 146QT and is currently offering Series 200 and 300 aircraft from its portfolio, as well as remarketing Series 200QT and QC aircraft on behalf of Titan Airways.

About BAE Systems

BAE Systems is the premier global defence, security and aerospace company delivering a full range of products and services for air, land and naval forces, as well as advanced electronics, security, information technology solutions and customer support services. With approximately 105,000 employees worldwide, BAE Systems' sales exceeded £18.5 billion (US $34.4 billion) in 2008.