Embraer says in a statement that the deal comprises three E-170s and 11 E-190s, plus options for six more. It says the large regional jet aircraft will be used by Virgin Blue “to support its expansion in the domestic and regional markets throughout the South Pacific markets”.
Virgin Blue is a Boeing 737-700/800 operator and had been considering an order for Embraer E-170/190s for more than two years.
Chief executive Brett Godfrey is quoted in the Embraer statement as saying that “this acquisition is a key step-change for Virgin Blue”.
“Our current fleet of aircraft provides sufficient capacity to serve key routes in the Australian, trans-Tasman and Pacific Island markets, however it is not optimal,” he adds.
No delivery dates are mentioned by Embraer in its statement and a Virgin Blue spokesperson was not immediately available for comment. With the commitment Virgin Blue has become the first scheduled airline in Australia to order E-jets.