India's Jet Airways has resumed talks on finalising its stalled order for 10 Embraer 175 regional jets, says the Brazilian aircraft manufacturer's chief executive, Mauricio Botelho.
Jet was announced as launch customer for the stretched, 86-seat version of the Embraer 170 in 2002, but the deal was postponed by the airline's financial difficulties, he says, and a contract was not signed.
"Jet Airways is talking again about coming back to the deal," says Botelho. "But we don't know when there will be a contract." The 175 is scheduled for certification in December, but still lacks a customer. "We are confident we will soon have a launch customer," he says. Turkish airline Atlasjet signed a letter of intent for four 175s and two 170s in June, which could become the first order if confirmed.
"Our real intent in developing the 175, at marginal cost, was to offer an alternative for customers, allowing them to exchange performance for payload," says Botelho. "We consider it an alternative to the 170 that might better fit customer requirements where very sound performance is not required."
Republic Airways Holdings is among Embraer 170 customers with the ability to switch its options to the 175. The US carrier has just firmed up another four 170 options, taking its orders to 22 - all for United Express operations.
These conversions were among 22 orders booked in the second quarter, which saw the Brazilian manufacturer achieve record sales of $924 million - 62% up on the same period last year. Commercial aircraft deliveries rose slightly, but included the first Embraer 170s helping net income increase to $80.2 million.
GRAHAM WARWICK / WASHINGTON DC
Source: Flight International