Estonian still discussing whether to keep Embraers or CRJs

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Estonian Air is still negotiating to determine its preferred fleet type, and is yet to decide whether to keep its Bombardier CRJ900s or completely transfer to Embraer twinjets.

The carrier has three CRJ900s but, in early 2012, opted to take several Embraer 170s and 190s, among them a batch leased from Finnair.

It indicated at the time that the CRJs would be withdrawn, but the loss-making carrier underwent a change of management at the end of last year and the airline's entire business strategy - including its fleet preference - is being reviewed.

Estonian Air's financial situation has put pressure on economic affairs minister Juhan Parts, who has had to face questions in the Estonian parliament about the carrier's prospects.

Parliamentary member Kajar Lember, during a session on 19 December, queried the decision to switch from the CRJs to Embraer jets, given the costs of introducing a new fleet type.

Parts had previously indicated that the airline had struggled to negotiate good financing terms for the aircraft. He also noted that the CRJ acquisition had its origins during SAS Group's involvement in Estonian Air, and that the business structure of the airline had since changed substantially.

Estonian Air, which has four Embraer 170s alongside its three CRJs, says: "We want to [transfer] into one particular type only."

But the carrier stresses that "nothing has been decided yet". Talks have been on hold during the holiday period, it adds, but the airline hopes to find a solution over the next few weeks.

"We're still having negotiations with lessors," it says, and states that it has not determined a type preference. "Both are good aircraft types for us."