With 25 Embraer twinjets on order, operator plans to build a regular charter service

Business aircraft operator Indigo is set to be the first US customer to receive an Embraer Legacy, with the delivery next week of the first of 25 aircraft it has on order. It will use the new super-mid-size business jets to ramp up its regular and frequent public charter service from Chicago Midway to New York Teterboro from early November.

The privately owned company has been operating over the past few months on a piecemeal basis, having reduced its Dassault Falcon 20 fleet from four to one aircraft. The last Falcon will be returned to its lessor later this year. Indigo chairman and chief executive Peter Pappas says: "Our Chicago Midway to New York Teterboro service has continued on a reduced schedule of two round trips twice a week. The Falcon 20 has been deployed for ad hoc charter in the interim."

Developed from the ERJ-135 regional jet, the Legacy received European and US certification in July and August, respectively. Four aircraft have been delivered so far to customers in Brazil and Europe.

Indigo is set to take delivery of four 16-seat Legacy Shuttles by year-end and a further five by the end of 2003, out of a total order of 25 aircraft plus 50 options. "By next January we will be operating to a full schedule of up to four flights a day, five days a week," says Pappas. "The aircraft will also be available for charter at weekends. Once all nine Legacys are in service we will take a recess, as delivery of the remaining aircraft depends on demand and Indigo's success."

Pappas is confident that the aftermath of 11 September will accelerate demand for its services as customers seek the security, flexibility and convenience of business aircraft travel. "The Indigo concept is simple and effective," Pappas says. "Individuals simply book a seat on an Indigo business jet, turn up and fly." Indigo is also planning to expand its route network, with a new service in January from Chicago to White Plains, New York. Other US East Coast-based routes are also planned. Indigo is evaluating demand for a Legacy-based corporate shuttle service.


Source: Flight International