American Eagle Airlines has exercised options to acquire 22 additional Bombardier CRJ700 aircraft, which will bring its fleet of the type to 47.

The regional carrier, a wholly owned subsidiary of American Airlines, had in September signed a letter of intent to convert the options. At list prices the deal would be worth $779 million, but the actual terms have not been disclosed.

The letter of intent had specified that deliveries would start mid-2010. "Subject to reaching agreement on acceptable terms with Bombardier and certain third party lenders AMR [American's parent], expects the purchase of the CRJ700 aircraft to be fully financed," AMR explained in a subsequent regulatory filing, adding that it expected those financing agreements to "involve the pledge of 10 owned CRJ700 aircraft".

American Eagle has 25 CRJ700s in active service. In September, its parent airline revealed plans to reconfigure the aircraft to include first-class cabins before it transitions them from Dallas-Fort Worth to Chicago O'Hare, so that they are "better suited for the thinner business markets that we've not been able to economically serve" from the latter airport.

Source: Air Transport Intelligence news