Group looks at buying at least 80 Embraer 170/190s, but only if price is right

A major order for at least 80 Embraer E-170/190s could be in prospect as Air France-KLM group seeks replacements for the 100-seaters operating with its regional subsidiaries. The group's Nantes, France-based subsidiary Regional says it hopes to finalise its 100-seater fleet-renewal deal with Embraer by year-end in advance of a potentially huge, group-wide deal.

Regional, the largest European Embraer operator with 47 aircraft in service, wants at least 12 aircraft to replace its ageing Fokker fleet. It operates seven Fokker 100s and five of the smaller Fokker 70.

Speaking to Flight International at the ERA Regional Airline Conference 2005, Regional fleet planning manager Francois Debost said: "There are ongoing discussions with Embraer to purchase the Embraer 170/190 family, but we haven't found a good price and conditions for the moment."

While Regional expects to be the first of the Air France-KLM regionals to order the E-170/190, this could ultimately stretch to an 80-strong deal as its sister carriers Brit Air, CityJet and KLM Cityhopper seek to replace their Fokker and BAe 146 fleets.

"Even if we order a limited num­ber, Embraer will have to be aware that it could extend to all Air France regionals," says Debost. He warns however that if an attractive enough deal is not forthcoming, Regional could extend its "flexible" Fokker leases, although ultimately the type will be phased out.


Source: Flight International