The Ecuadorian air force has issued a request for proposals (RFP) for a presidential transport aircraft to replace its British Aerospace BAe 748 twin turboprop. This is the latest in a wave of presidential aircraft replacement proposals to sweep South America.

Approval has been given by Ecuador's defence minister, Nelson Herrera, who suggests the purchase will be a government-to-government deal. Delivery is due in the next six months.

Ecuador's four BAe 748s were delivered between 1970 and 1976. The current presidential aircraft was overhauled recently after suffering an in-flight engine fire last year. Sources say the Ecuadorian air force is evaluating a VIP-configured Embraer ERJ-145, but is thought to favour Embraer's smaller Legacy business jet.

Late last month, Embraer bid to supply the Brazilian air force with two VIP-configured 170s to replace two Boeing 737-200s.

The Brazilian air force's priority for VIP aircraft, however, is to acquire a single type to replace the air force's fleet of 707 tanker/transports and a single VIP variant. The latter is employed as a presidential transport for visits outside South America.

Although the Brazilian air force is not expected to issue an RFP until late 2004, it is understood to be examining Boeing's 767 and Airbus's A310-based tanker-transports as potential substitutes.

The Columbian air force is expected to issue a request for proposals soon as it seeks to replace its Fokker F28-1000C presidential transport aircraft (Flight International, 1-7 July).

Source: Flight International