Avianca Brazil to place regional aircraft order in coming months

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Avianca Brazil is in talks with several aircraft manufacturers on a regional aircraft order that it plans to decide on in the six to eight months.

"We are talking to Embraer as well as to other manufacturers," Avianca Brazil's president Jose Efromovich tells Flightglobal. He declines to specify the number of aircraft that the airline is looking at, but several regional aircraft manufacturers have told Flightglobal recently that the order will be substantial.

"We have to take a decision in the next six to eight months." says Efromovich. He adds that the size of the aircraft order will depend on any changes the airline makes to its business plan, as well as developments in the Brazilian government's plan to develop regional aviation.

Embraer declines to comment when contacted. A spokesperson says the airframer does not discuss business prospects. However, both Bombardier and Superjet told Flightglobal recently that they were in talks with an Avianca carrier on a large regional aircraft order.

Avianca Brazil, formerly known as OceanAir, carries the same branding as Bogota-based airline group Avianca. While the two airlines are both majority-owned by Synergy Group, they operate separately. Synergy is owned by German Efromovich, the twin brother of Jose Efromovich.

Avianca's chief executive Fabio Villegas told Flightglobal earlier this month that it is not in the market for new regional aircraft, adding that the airline's Airbus A318s will stay with the airline for some years. “We don't think we will need more aircraft in the 100-seat segment," said Villegas.

Besides Embraer, both Superjet and Bombardier have referred recently to talks with an Avianca airline for a regional aircraft order.

Avianca Brazil's new regional aircraft could likely replace its Fokker 100s. The airline has said previously it had planned to substitute the Fokker 100s with Airbus A318s, but Flightglobal's Ascend Online database shows that the airline still operates 12 Fokker 100s. These aircraft have in-service dates ranging from 1991 to 1993.