Karen Walker

A massive $2 billion order for 75 firm and 75 option Embraer ERJ-135 regional jets was announced yesterday by US carrier American Eagle.

Bill Kostel, director of fleet planning at American Eagle, a regional subsidiary of American Airlines, said he expects deliveries of the 37-seat -135 to begin in August 1999 and that the "long-term" deal will enable Eagle to transition to an all-jet fleet. The agreement also means $500 million business for Rolls-Royce Allison, which powers the -135.

Kostel says the aircraft's 90% commonality with the larger ERJ-145, which Eagle has bought, was an important factor in the choice between the -135 and its rival, the Fairchild Dornier 328JET. But range and speed also swayed the decision. "We are convinced the -135 will be extremely efficient, just like its big brother," says Kostel. The new aircraft will replace Saab 340s and ATR 42s.

Embraer has also revealed a new customer, National Jet Systems, whose purchase of four -145s takes the aircraft into Australia for the first time. Embraer has recently opened an office in Australia.

In addition, Luxair of Luxembourg said yesterday it will buy an additional five -145s, increasing its original order to seven firm and two options. And Flandre Air of France has increased its -135 form orders by two to 10.

Those deals push the total value of orders announced by Embraer at this show to well over $2.5 billion.

Source: Flight Daily News