DELTA CONNECTION carrier Comair has increased its order for Bombardier Canadair Regional Jets (CRJs), after evaluating Brazilian manufacturer Embraer's rival EMB-145.

The airline has placed firm and conditional orders for 30 of the 50-seat CRJs, and taken options on a further 45 aircraft, some of which could be converted to 70-seat CRJ Series 700s. Comair already operates 50 CRJs: delivery of the new aircraft will begin in September.

The Cincinatti, Ohio-based airline continues to talk to Embraer about its proposed 34-seat derivative of the EMB-145, the EMB-135, which the Brazilian manufacturer has said it hopes to launch at the Paris air show. Comair chairman David Mueller says that the airline is "-focused on transitioning to an all-jet fleet".

The airline had held options on 25 CRJs, but describes the new agreement as a "renegotiated deal". The 18 aircraft on firm order are valued at $330 million, which represents a considerable discount on the CRJ's $20 million list price. A further 12 are on conditional order, pending a decision on how the carrier will replace its turboprops. Comair operates 39 30-seat Embraer EMB-120 Brasilias.

Source: Flight International