Portugalia has selected the Embraer EMB-145 to operate on its expanding regional network from Portugal, following a two-way contest involving the Brazilian aircraft and the Bombardier Canadair Regional Jet.

The privately owned carrier says that it will shortly sign firm contracts covering four EMB-145s, for delivery in May, June, October and November this year, and take two options for delivery in 1998. The 50-seat aircraft will be used on routes from Lisbon and Oporto to the Spanish destinations of Barcelona, Bilbao, Majorca Tenerife and Valencia, according to the airline's commercial director, Francisco Bordalo.

Portugalia had earlier intended to replace its six leased Fokker 100s with Airbus A320s or Boeing 737-700s, before looking for a regional aircraft (Flight International, 28 February - 5 March, 1996, P14). "We thought that there was an opportunity in regional markets that would require a smaller aircraft, and decided to go ahead quite fast," says Bordalo. The Fokker 100s will not now be replaced until their ten-year leases from GPA expire in 2000, Bordalo adds.

Meanwhile, Portugalia plans to start services to Manchester, UK, from Lisbon and Oporto, from April, using the Fokker 100s.

Source: Flight International