Proposed Indian start-up Indus Airways has been offered pre-production Embraer 170/175s that participated in the flight-test programme, writes Brendan Sobie.

The airline plans to acquire five aircraft, and industry sources say it will send a delegation to Brazil this week to evaluate the 170/175 ahead of a potential contract for deliveries in mid-2005. But an adviser to Indus says the carrier is also prepared to acquire Bombardier CRJ700/900s or Boeing 737s if the deal for 170/175s fails to materialise.

"We're trying to start as fast as possible," he says. "We plan to start with five aircraft and go up to 20." An Embraer source says Indus is being offered some of the seven 170s and two 175s that were used in the flight-test programme. "We're actively marketing those now," he says. "We'll hold on to a few and market the others."

Indus unveiled plans in January to lease Embraer ERJ-145s, but the adviser says the carrier has since decided ERJs are too small.

Source: Flight International