A senior Embraer executive yesterday gave US Airways and other embattled airline customers a public vote of confidence.

Federico Fleury Curado, Embraer executive vice-president for civil aircraft, said: "We're monitoring progress very carefully and have seen nothing to suggest that the contract with US Airways will not be completed successfully.

"We're going ahead with the contract and have delivered 15 Embraer 170s to date in spite of US Airways' current financial difficulties."

He also dismissed suggestions that the Brazilian manufacturer might want to match competitor Bombardier's proposed move upwards from traditional regional-jet country with the 110-130-seat CSeries. "In size the CSeries would compete with our Embraer 195 at the lower end and the Boeing 737 and Airbus A319 at the upper - so it's a niche that's already very well served."


Besides US Airways, which has 85 Embraer 170s on order, the company numbers among its customers struggling Swiss and Air Canada, operating under bankruptcy protection. "The Air Canada deal is effectively done but they still have processes to go through because they are in the Canadian equivalent of Chapter 11," Curado said. "We expect them to complete that soon."

Questioned on the possible effects of Swiss's problems on the pace of Embraer development, he said: "We are pushing on with 195 development regardless of the Swiss situation because we have other operators such as JetBlue to consider. We are now in the last stages of arranging for the deferral of deliveries to Swiss."


In the meantime, Embraer continues to accumulate orders across its product range. Yesterday it announced that US carrier Republic Airways had firmed up two Embraer 170 options, taking its total of aircraft ordered to 18.

The 37-50-seat ERJ 145 family is also prospering: Trans States Airlines has just converted seven ERJ 145 options and European carrier Luxair has firmed a pair of ERJ 135s and taken an option on another.

The 170/190 is here in the flesh, with the second flight-test 190 performing in the flying display and an Alitalia Express 170 in the static park.

With all its major certifications completed this February, the 170 is now in revenue service with LOT, US Airways Express and Alitalia Express.

Source: Flight Daily News