A new customer has emerged for the Embraer 170 that could take at least 16 aircraft by early next year. Meanwhile, deliveries have begun of the first 170s to the three launch airlines.

New United Express regional carrier Republic Airlines has disclosed plans to introduce 16 170s between July this year and March 2005. United selected three Wexford Group carriers - Chautauqua Airlines, Republic and Shuttle America - to add 32 regional jets and 10 turboprops to its hub operations at Chicago O'Hare and Washington Dulles. Last week, Republic applied for a US Department of Transportation certificate to operate the 70-seaters, and announced its intention to move its headquarters from Louisville, Kentucky to Indianapolis, Indiana.

Meanwhile, on 10 March Alitalia Express received the first of six 170s it has on order. Two days earlier, LOT Polish Airlines accepted its first aircraft, while US Airways ferried two 170s to Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, the new hub for its MidAtlantic Airways division. All three plan to enter the 170 into service by mid-April.

Embraer received international type certification for the regional jet in late February, and plans to deliver 11 170s by 31 March.

Source: Flight International