Estonian Air has firmed a contract to acquire three Bombardier CRJ900 NextGen aircraft, a deal which replaces an earlier fleet-renewal agreement with the airframer.

Under the new agreement Estonian Air will take delivery of the jets in early 2011 and 2012.

The airline had been included in a Bombardier fleet-renewal agreement for SAS Group in early 2008, under which it was to receive a number of CRJs.

But the Tallinn-based carrier says the new contract "replaces" this earlier deal which was originally forged while SAS Group was still committed to Estonian Air as an affiliate airline.

SAS Group is reducing its shareholding in Estonian Air, as part of an effort to divest non-core activity, while the Estonian Government is intending to increase its stake to 90%.

Estonian Air says the CRJ pact will enter effect once the country's Parliament has approved a Government decision to increase the carrier's share capital.

"Long-term loans of various financial institutions, and internal funds, are used for the aircraft purchasing," adds the carrier.

 Estonian CRJ900

Chief executive Andrus Aljas says the aircraft will be delivered ahead of its peak traffic period.

"This is a fundamental step for our company," he says. "We are upgrading our fleet with smaller aircraft that better meet Estonia's market demands and enable us to improve our flight schedule as well as open new destinations."

Estonian Air says it will use the aircraft mainly on high-demand business destinations, and adds that the aircraft agreement includes a comprehensive support package.

Source: Air Transport Intelligence news