Finnair has ordered 12 Embraer 170 regional jets as Swiss International Air Lines again delays delivery of its order for 15 because of a worsening financial outlook.

The Finnish flag-carrier has options on a further eight General Electric CF34-powered 170s, which will replace 10 Boeing MD-80s and five ATR 72s as deliveries start from September next year. The $320 million deal with Finnair Aircraft Finance contains scope for converting orders for the 76-seat 170s to other 170/190 variants.

The aircraft will be used to develop regional routes too thin for its Airbus A320 family aircraft, while the ATR 72s will transfer to Finnair's Estonian subsidiary Aero Airlines.

The deal comes as original 170 launch customer Swiss attempts to finalise a new delivery schedule with Embraer delaying service entry to next year. This month both airline and manufacturer confirmed that deliveries were due to begin by year-end, although Swiss says "it is certain" no 170s will be taken before year-end and adds that talks are focusing on the length of the delay.

Swiss inherited an order for 60 170/195 family jets from defunct regional carrier Crossair, which it halved, with the original first 170 delivery scheduled for late 2002. In March Swiss pushed this date to August, with subsequent deliveries now set for September next year. Swiss is also considering switching its order for 15 195s to the smaller 190, to arrive from 2006.

The further delay comes after the company issued a profit warning for this year, largely due to additional fuel costs.

Meanwhile Swiss is to withdraw its current Airbus A330 operations between Zurich and New York Newark and replace them with a Boeing Business Jet service operated on wet lease from PrivatAir.

Source: Flight International