Bombardier believed to be ahead of Embraer in fight for the Japanese airline's expected large regional order

All Nippon Airways (ANA) is close to finalising the second phase of its domestic fleet revamp plan and is expected to place orders for 70-seat regional jets and large turboprops.

Bombardier and Embraer have been battling for the regional jet order, which is expected to cover between 12 and 15 aircraft.

Although Embraer has been aggressive with its sales effort in Japan and was seen as the early favourite with its 170, which is in flight test, industry sources say there have been recent indications from the airline that Bombardier's CRJ700 is now favoured by some within the carrier.

The airline is at the same time considering a follow-on order with Bombardier for between six and eight Dash 8 Q400 turboprops.

ANA recently decided to order around 45 Boeing 737s as part of its domestic fleet revamp plan. Those aircraft, most of which will be -700 variants, will replace Airbus A320s and older-generation 737s.

Bombardier Regional Aircraft president Steve Ridolfi confirmed at last week's announcement of an order for 17 Q400s from UK company Flybe that the manufacturer is "in talks with ANA on 70-seat products" - both CRJ700s and Q400s.

He says there "probably will be an order" and it could involve one or both types.

Whether ANA opts for the Bombardier or Embraer regional jet offerings, its selection will give the winning manufacturer a major boost in efforts to tap into the Japanese market, which is seen as having great sales potential over the next decade.

Bombardier is the only regional jet manufacturer to have enjoyed sales successes in the country, with a handful of CRJ200 orders from Japan Airlines' subsidiary J-Air and new entrant Fair Inc, which operates some services on behalf of ANA.

Source: Flight International