Paul Phelan/CAIRNS

Australian regional airline Kendell has selected the Bombardier Canadair Regional Jet (CRJ) over Embraer's RJ-145 and placed an order for up to 24 aircraft. Meanwhile, Adelaide-based National Jet Systems (NJS) is about to introduce the first of up to four ERJ-145s.

The Ansett-owned regional has placed firm orders for 12 CRJ-200s, for delivery between late 1999 and mid-2001, and has taken options for 12 more aircraft. The Wagga-Wagga, New South Wales-based airline operates a fleet of 23 turboprops (Fairchild Dornier Metros and Saab 340s), but is taking over its parent's loss-making routes on Australia's east coast. It therefore needs a 50-seater type to replace the Ansett-operated British Aerospace 146s (Flight International, 23-29 September).

It is understood that Kendell's selection of the CRJ was in part based on the fact that the new aircraft will replace larger and wider British Aerospace 146s, and the perception that the wider, four-abreast, cabin of the CRJ would be easier to market than the Embraer "one-plus-two" seating to passengers accustomed to the BAe jets.

The deal takes CRJ firm orders past 500, and the backlog to more than 240 aircraft. A string of recent major deals for the CRJ has prompted Canadair to boost monthly production of the 50-seat CRJ from the current six to 7.5 units by late next year.

Meanwhile, NJS will receive at the end of November and in mid-December, respectively, the two ERJ-145s ordered at September's Farnborough air show. The airline, which also holds two options, will use the aircraft for resource industry "fly-in-fly-out" support operations conducted between Perth, Western Australia, and the remote north of the state.

Managing director Warren Seymour says that the work for which the aircraft were ordered is still subject to a tender for which Ansett is competing. He says, however: "There are a number of other opportunities in Australia and, indeed, in Europe, for which the aircraft would be suitable."

NJS is assisting Indonesian carrier Merparti Indonesia to lease out its fleet of eight Fokker F28 Mk4000s. Two aircraft have already been refurbished at the carrier's facility at Surabaya, and will be leased to African operators.

Source: Flight International