Harbin Embraer in the fray after no deliveries in 4Q

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Embraer's revelation this week that no ERJ-145 regional jets were delivered during the fourth quarter of 2008 forced the company to again answer questions about whether production at its Chinese joint venture Harbin Embraer has ground to a halt.

But Embraer executive vice-president airline market Mauro Kern insists production at Harbin Embraer, which produces the ERJ-145, has simply slowed.

For months Embraer has been in talks with Grand China Express parent Hainan Airlines concerning a new ERJ-145 delivery schedule. Ten ERJ-145s of an original 50-strong order have already been delivered with 40 remaining.

Three ERJ-145s slated for the carrier in the third quarter of 2008 were not delivered due to a reduction in the planned growth of its fleet. And no ERJ-145s were delivered during the fourth quarter to either Grand China or under defence contracts.

"The reschedule negotiation [with Hainan] has not yet been concluded," says Kern. "Production at Harbin Embraer has slowed down until the final schedule is in place."