Virgin Blue, which last week concluded the long-rumoured deal to acquire Embraer 170/190 regional jets, could also be set for a move into the all-freight business.

The Australian all-Boeing 737 operator has been asked by its controlling shareholder, Toll Holdings, to look at adding cargo aircraft so it can stop relying on Australian Air Express (AaE) to carry its freight on domestic flights. AaE is a joint venture between Virgin Blue rival Qantas and Australia Post.

E170 Virgin BlueReports say Virgin Blue is investigating the possibility of adding dedicated freighters or quick-change aircraft that could be used to carry passengers during the day and cargo at night.

Meanwhile, the airline will begin adding 14 E-170/190s next year. The order comprises 11 E-190s and three E-170s, with options on six. "This new jet will enhance our ability to serve the corporate market by more accurately matching seat capacity and frequency to passenger demand," says chief executive Brett Godfrey.

Virgin Blue will begin adding 14 Embraer 170/190s to its fleet next year

Source: Flight International