Karen Walker

Embraer seals $1.8 billion deal for 100 ERJ Regional Jets

Embraer kicked off the first trade day yesterday with an order from Continental Express for 100 new ERJ 145 and ERJ 135 regional jets.

Although a figure was not announced, it is believed that the deal is worth some $1.8 billion. It also takes Continental Express' total orders for ERJ 145s and 135s to 200 firm aircraft that will be delivered by the end of 2003.

Continental Express, a regional subsidiary of Continental Airlines, was launch customer for the ERJ 145 at the 1996 Farnborough airshow. Since then, Brazilian manufacturer Embraer has announced large batches of regional jet sales at each of the subsequent airshows. "I'm pleased to say this has become something of a habit," Fred Curado, Embraer's executive vice-president, commercial, told a press conference.

Firm orders for the ERJ 145 now stand at 402, with 271 options, while orders for the ERJ 135 stand at 165 with 157 options.

Yesterday's announcement was also good news for Rolls-Royce, the sole-source engine supplier for the ERJ 145 and 135. This latest order is worth nearly $0.5 billion in related AE 3007 engine sales.

The deal is for 75 ERJ 145s and 25 ERJ 135s. Of the 145s, a batch of 25 aircraft was confirmed in December, but the order was not revealed until yesterday. Bruce Kink, Continental Express senior director, marketing, says the airline is on track to become an all-jet operation by the first or second quarter of 2003, when it will have phased out all of its 1900D, Brasilia and ATR turboprops.


Kink points out that the regional jet has been the foundation of the airline's spectacular growth and success since the 1996 order was placed.

"We started off with 25 firm orders and 175 options and a lot of people thought we were a little crazy and that we would never need all those aircraft. But we made a bet on Embraer and it turned out to be the right bet."

The airline now serves 68 cities with 940 daily departures from its hubs in Cleveland, Ohio; Houston, Texas; and Newark, New York. It will introduce 25 new destinations this year, including six Mexican cities.

"Communities get so excited when they hear that we are bringing regional jet service to their cities," says Kink. "Not only is this a premium product that the customer wants, but we are also able to serve new markets and link our hubs with the regional jet. That feeds business into Continental's hubs and creates extra value for them."

Source: Flight Daily News