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SkyWest orders another 20 E-Jets

Brazilian airframer Embraer has sold another 20 E-Jets to US regional airline company SkyWest Inc in a deal valued at $941 million at list prices, Embraer announces.

SkyWest's order includes the purchase of five 76-seat E175s and 15 of Embraer's newly-designated E175-SC (special configuration), a version of the E175 that is outfitted with just 70 seats.

The 70-seat configuration allows the E175-SC to meet the definition of 70-seat aircraft under the terms of pilot contracts.

Embraer will deliver the E175s between September and early 2018, and all of the E175-SCs next year, SkyWest says.

The company's SkyWest Airlines unit will operate the E175s for Alaska Airlines and the E175-SCs for Delta Air Lines, SkyWest says.

The latest order comes in addition to SkyWest's purchase of 25 E-Jets, including 10 E175s and 15 E175-SCs, that was announced in early September.

SkyWest will pay for all 45 aircraft using $161 million in cash, and the balance in debt, it says.

Embraer designed the E175-SC to capture what executives see as increasing demand by US regional airlines for 70-seat aircraft.

The company will largely target operators of Bombardier CRJ700s, which are nearing replacement age, Embraer's head of North American sales Charlie Hillis said during the Regional Airline Association (RAA) annual event on 25 September.

Embraer's lineup does include the dedicated 70-seat E170, but that aircraft is largely out of production and lacks many performance improvements made to the popular E175, Hillis said.

The E175-SC also appeals to airlines because it can be converted into a 76-seat configuration should carriers need more aircraft in that size category.

Currently, US regional airlines operate nearly all of the 76-seat aircraft that they are permitted to operate under the terms of contracts between US major airlines and their pilots, Hillis said.

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