Serbia and Montenegro national carrier Jat Airways is to expand its regional fleet by leasing twoEmbraer 170s. Meanwhile, United Express operator Republic Airlines is negotiating an expansion of its 170 fleet to fulfill a new feeder contract for Delta Air Lines.

Jat general director Aleksandar Milutinovic says the 170s will serve a number of Balkan cities - Banja Luka, Ljubljana, Podgorica, Sarajevo, Skopje, Sofia and Thessaloniki - feeder routes for the airline's scheduled flights to New York, which are due to begin on 1 June.

The new Embraers will join the airline's existing regional fleet of four ATR 72s, although these aircraft were grounded for inspection in December after engine problems.

Embraer confirms it is in advanced talks with Republic for 16 more 170s, as part of a deal that would see the new order replace an existing deal for eight ERJ-145s.

Republic operates 11 170s for United Express, and has 12 on firm order, plus 25 options. Its new feeder deal with Delta is the first for the US major since its November ratification of a liberalised pilot contract that relaxed restrictions on the number of 70-seat aircraft it could add to its Connection network.

 The Embraer 175 was certificated by the Brazilian civil aviation authority last month, with European Aviation Safety Agency and Transport Canada approval expected soon. First customer for the 78-seat derivative of the 170 is Air Canada, with deliveries due to begin in July.


Source: Flight International