Initial tests of the first prototype were disappointing, displaying performance only marginally better than the BH-21, even when fitted with a more powerful version of the Jupiter. Two further prototypes followed, both designated BH-33-1, each with an increasingly powerful Jupiter variant - one a Jupiter VI, the other a Jupiter VII. The performance of the latter example was finally good enough for the Czechoslovakian defence ministry to order a small production run of only five aircraft.
Three examples were sold to Belgium, where there were plans to build the type under licence, but this did not eventuate. Licence production was undertaken, however, in Poland, where a single example was sold along with a licence to build 50 aircraft. These were designated PWS-A and put into service with the Polish Air Force in 1930.
Development continued with an almost total redesign of the fuselage, replacing the wooden, slab-sided structure with one of oval cross-section built up from welded steel tubes. Designated BH-33E, this was at last a world-class fighter for its time. Nevertheless, the response from the Czechoslovakian military was lukewarm (although two were bought for the national aerobatics team), and Avia again looked abroad for customers, this time selling 20 aircraft to Kingdom of Yugoslavia, along with a licence to produce another 24. Two or three examples were also bought by Russia for evaluation.
In late 1929, a further development was flown as the BH-33L, featuring longer-span wings, and a Škoda L W-block engine. This version finally brought the company the domestic sales that it had been hoping for, with 80 aircraft ordered by the Czechoslovak Air Force. These became standard equipment with some air regiments up to the outbreak of World War II.
A single, final variant with a BMW-built Pratt & Whitney Hornet engine was built as the BH-33H (later redesignation BH-133) in 1930, but this did not lead to production.
- BH-33 : First prototype.
- BH-33-1 : Two prototypes powered by Jupiter VI (second) and Jupiter VII (third) engines plus 5 serial built aircraft with Jupiter VII engine.
- BH-33E : Rebuilt fuselage
- BH-33E-SHS : Yugoslav Version powered by IAM K9 engine, 22 built.
- BH-33L : Version with longer span wings and powered by Škoda L engine, 80 built.
- BH-33H (BH-133) : Version powered by Pratt & Whitney Hornet engine, one built.
- P.W.S.A : Polish license-built variant of the BH-33 with minor modifications, 50 built between 1929 and 1932.