FIDAE: Avianca Brazil 'advancing' on E2 order

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Avianca Brazil is "advancing" in talks with Embraer to place an order for the re-engined E2 regional jet, says the airline's owner German Efromovich.

"We are talking to Embraer, it is in process and advancing," he tells Flightglobal on the sidelines of the IATA Wings of Change conference at the FIDAE air show in Santiago.

Efromovich indicates that the airline is no longer considering the Bombardier CSeries or Sukhoi Superjet as candidates, and will also convert 10 ATR 72-600 options on top of an E2 order. The turboprops, which appear to be coming out of an order placed by Bogota-based Avianca, will be delivered next year and through 2015, says Efromovich.

Avianca Brazil said late last year it was in talks with several airframers on a regional aircraft order. Reports have said the order could be for up to 30 regional aircraft. The airline has said it would make a decision in months, but Efromovich today declines to commit to a timeline or specify the number of aircraft.

Embraer, when contacted by Flightglobal, declines to comment.

Avianca took delivery of its first ATR 72-600 in mid-2013, and has firm orders for 15 of the type. ATR chief executive Filippo Bagnato said during the Paris air show in June 2013 that Avianca had added an additional 30 options for a total of 45.

Avianca Brazil and Avianca are both majority-owned by Efromovich's Synergy Group, but operate separately. Avianca Brazil, which will join Avianca in Star Alliance, has indicated that it has ambitions to play a bigger role in the Brazilian market with the impending regional aircraft order. It will also operate the Airbus A350 after deliveries begin.

Bombardier and Superjet have said at FIDAE that they were awaiting a decision from Avianca Brazil on their regional aircraft order. Bombardier said it had submitted all relevant data on the CSeries to the airline, while Superjet said it was following the situation closely. "We hope to repeat the same success with Avianca Brazil as we did with [Superjet customer] Interjet," Superjet chief executive Nazario Cauceglia told Flightglobal.