Irish regional airline CityJet (WX) retired its last British Aerospace Avro RJ85 jet named “Great Blasket Island” after 22 years of active operations. The last departure of the jets brought to the end its involvement with the Irish wet-lease air carrier.
According to FlightRadar24.com data, on November 3, 2020, Avro RJ85, registered as EI-RJF and named a “Great Blasket Island”, for the very last time took off from its home base in Dublin Airport (DUB) to Keflavik Airport (KEF) in Iceland. The last CityJet Avro RJ85 aircraft reportedly would be modified into the U.S. firefighting plane.
The last CityJet’s Avro RJ85 aircraft story began in 1998. The plane was delivered to the first owner Mesaba Airlines, a former American regional Minnesota-based airline. After 8 years of flying under its primary registration number of N518XJ, the Avro RJ85 jet was transferred to BAE Systems Asset Management and re-registered as G-CEFN in 2006, Planespotters.com data showed.
The plane received its current registration as EI-RJF when it was added to the CityJet fleet on August 24, 2007. According to the last Planespotters.com update, after the retirement of its very last Avro RJ85, the airline would operate a single-type fleet consisting of a total of 24 Bombardier CRJ-900 aircraft, of which 14 jets are marked being active in operations and 10 are temporarily parked.
The main reason why CityJet decided to retire the “Great Blasket Island” was the company’s goal to grow its services with more modern aircraft models, speaking to local media explained Pat Byrne, the Executive Chairman of CityJet. “But there will always be a place in our hearts for the venerable Avros,” added Byrne.