Venezuela shows interest in ordering E-Jets

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Venezuela could possibly order up to 30 Embraer jets to replace its current combined medium range fleet of Conviasa's 12 Boeing 737-200s, 737-300s and Bombardier CRJ700 jets and possibly Aeropostal's eight DC9/MD82 jets.

During a state visit of Venezuela's president Hugo Chavez to Brazil, Brazilian media cited Venezuelan and Brazilian government sources, confirming Venezuela's interest in buying Embraer jets for its national airlines. There were also discrepancies about the number, as some publications reported 20 aircraft, while others said 30.

A spokesman at the Venezuelan Ministry of Transport and Communications, to which Conviasa belongs, confirmed that the government is indeed interested in "acquiring eight to 20 Embraer E-190 or E-195 aircraft". Asked about a possible timeframe for delivery, the source said that "once the aircraft have been ordered, the delivery will be as fast", explaining that the contract could be signed in September so that deliveries could begin in 2012.

A Brazilian presidential spokesman said that the number of aircraft to be ordered could even reach 30.

While reports about Conviasa's interest in Embraer jets first emerged in 2009, the fact that they have been elevated to the presidential agenda during the visit to Brazil increases the chances of a firm order being placed.

The Venezuelan government also controls Aeropostal, which was put under government control in 2008 after its owners were investigated under drug trafficking accusations. However, despite initial plans, the airline has so far not been merged with Conviasa and continues to operate as a private company under public administration.