Northwest Airlines launch customer for E-175AR

Embraer is introducing an extended-range version of its E-170 and E-175 twinjets, designated the "AR", with Northwest Airlines as the launch customer for the E-175AR variant.

Embraer vice-president for airline market intelligence Luiz Sergio Chiessi says the AR version, which is already available for the E-190 and E-195, will add an extra 370km (200nm) to the range of the E-170LR and E-175LR at full payload. The E-170LR's range is around 3,700km while that of the E-175LR is about 3,500km.

Embraer says the AR will extend the LR variants' endurance by roughly 60-90min. "Northwest Airlines, which has already signed an E-175 contract, is the launch customer and will fly the AR version in the USA," says Chiessi, speaking at the airframer's European centre in Paris .

Certification of the E-175AR is expected in the third quarter of 2008, followed by the E-170AR in the fourth quarter. The type will require "very small" structural modifications, reinforcing some areas of the fuselage to cater for the additional fuel weight. It will have slightly increased maximum take-off and landing weights.

Northwest Airlines' new Compass Airlines subsidiary will initially operate the E-175LR, which will be delivered with some structural modifications to enable an upgrade to the E-175AR.

"It will be delivered in a convertible state," says Chiessi, adding that demand for the type is expected to stem from the USA rather than Europe.

Meanwhile, Chiessi says Embraer will step up production of its ERJ-145 family from 45 this year to 53 aircraft in both 2008 and 2009, and then 51 in 2010.

With production of the 50-seat jet being undertaken by the Harbin Embraer joint venture in China, all 53 ERJ-145s on firm backlog are held by Chinese carriers - 50 for Hainan Airlines and three for China Eastern Airlines. Embraer insists the ERJ-145 is still an "alive programme".

In the near term Embraer is increasing deliveries across its range, with second quarter output rising by 60% over the first quarter to 40 aircraft to meet its 2007 full-year target of 165 to 170 aircraft.

Source: Flight International