Nas Air in talks with Embraer to salvage E-190 order

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Nas Air is talking to Embraer about the possible transferral of its order for seven E-190s to another division within the Nas Holding group, according to airline chief executive François Bouteiller.

The Saudi Arabian carrier is transitioning to an all-Airbus A320 fleet and no longer sees an operational requirement for the E-190s, he says.

"The Embraer just doesn't fit in our business model," Bouteiller tells Flightglobal. "The way we'll deal with the order still needs to be defined, but we're envisaging maybe another unit [within the group], another way of using this order.

"Not only do we need a single-type fleet, but we need more seats on each aircraft, so Nas Air will not operate the Embraers. We're working with Embraer to see how we can honour the order."

Nas Holding also includes private jet operator NasJet - which operates a mixed fleet of Gulfstream, Falcon and Hawker business jets - and Nas Charter, which leases two Boeing 747s for religious traffic during Hajj and Umrah.

Neither unit appears to be an immediate fit for the 110-seat E-190s, but Bouteiller would not be drawn on whether the order could be cancelled outright.

The airline already has six E-190s and two E-195s in its fleet, which are being phased out as it takes delivery of more A320s. Six new Airbus units will arrive between May and July, Bouteiller says, followed by four more by November.

"We're introducing 10 aeroplanes this year, so it's major growth," the chief executive notes. "With the network, the product line, the way we penetrate the market, it makes a lot of sense for us to go with a single-type fleet."

A further 10 A320s will arrive from 2014 onwards, bringing the airline's all-Airbus fleet to 30 units.