It has been over a month since Virgin Blue chief executive John Borghetti said at the carrier’s half-annual results that there would soon be news on the withdrawal and sale plans of the carrier’s 6-strong Embraer 170 fleet.
“We are in discussions with a number of parties and there is nothing further we can say at this time,” a spokesman says. He confirms none of the E170 aircraft have been sold yet.
One potential operator of the fleet could be Delta Air Lines, very strong suggestions go. The carrier has experience with the E170 as Shuttle America, a regional airline owned by Republic Holdings that flies under the Delta Connection brand, operates 16 of the similar E175 aircraft.
Republic Holdings also announced that between May and September this year it would place, through an unspecified subsidiary, eight E170 aircraft with Delta. These aircraft, however, are currently in use by another Republic carrier, Frontier. A Republic spokesman says the company does not plan to acquire additional E170 aircraft.
If Delta will operate Virgin Blue’s E170 aircraft, one option left for that to occur is for Delta to purchase the aircraft. And on that a Delta spokesman says: “We’re not going to be able to comment right now on any speculation about aircraft purchases.”