AAI gains five BAe 146 RJs


South African leasing firm African Airlines Investments has acquired five BAe 146 regional jetliners from BAE Systems taking its fleet to seven of the capable aircraft. Neither party disclosed a value for the deal.

Two of the aircraft are BAe 146-200s with the remaining aircraft being the bigger Series 300. The aircraft are scheduled to be delivered by mid-July. These five aircraft are additional to two other BAe 146-200s that are currently operated by the company for customers in Gabon and other African countries. The company also presently operates smaller turboprop aircraft on behalf of additional customers in Mozambique, Malawi and Zambia.

African Airlines Investments (AAI) is an asset-based aviation group providing aviation support solutions to the African aviation industry. Its operational base is Johannesburg Lanseria Airport, whilst its finance and administration centre is located in Stellenbosch in the Western Cape. Aircraft are wet-leased to airline operators in a number of countries and all aircraft are maintained to South African Civil Aviation Authority standards for safety and airworthiness.

AAI director Pieter Louw says “Africa has huge potential for air traffic development and we believe we have a unique business model to help the industry expand. In addition to our home market, we are spreading our wings across sub-Saharan Africa and its islands and the market for both charter operations and turnkey operations is expanding. We believe that the BAe 146 is the ideal aircraft for our jet operations.”

Nigel Benson, Director Sales and Marketing – Sub Saharan Africa for BAE Systems Regional Aircraft Asset Management added “African Airlines Investments is the fourth customer for the BAe 146/Avro RJ in South Africa. Across Africa as a whole the aircraft is proving increasingly popular and we will have by the middle of 2010 a total of 19 aircraft in operations with seven customers across six countries.”