Virgin Blue to ditch Embraer 170 fleet

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Australia's Virgin Blue Group will remove from service by July 2011 its fleet of six Embraer 170 aircraft, and sell them.

The carrier group attributes the decision to poor economics of the type within its operations.

"The 170, on the sectors we [operate], is not an economically-viable aircraft for our use," CEO John Borghetti says. The aircraft primarily operate on regional routes. Competitor Qantas mainly operates Bombardier Q400s on regional links.

Virgin Blue's six 170s were built between 2007 and 2008 and have each accumulated between 3,000-6,000 hours according to Flightglobal's ACAS database.

Virgin Blue operates the type in a two-class configuration seating 78. The carrier will retain its 15 Embraer 190s.