Swiss International Air Lines is renegotiating with Embraer a delay of at least five months in the scheduled delivery of the first 170 regional jet. This follows development slippages and the Brazilian manufacturer's decision to push back the targeted date for certification to the second quarter of next year.

Swiss says it is now looking at taking delivery of the first 70-seat aircraft in August or September 2003, but is still negotiating this and the schedule for the other six aircraft it was due to take next year. Despite the delay in certification, Embraer says it plans to deliver 20 170s by the end of 2003. Other operators due to receive their first aircraft in 2003 include Alitalia and lessor GE Capital Aviation Services.

As launch customer for the 170/190 programme, Swiss adds: "There are special conditions concerning delays in the contract." Swiss, formerly Crossair, ordered 30 170s and a similar number of the stretched 195 version in 1999. Deliveries were originally due to begin at the end of this year, but after a two-month slide in the start of flight testing, Embraer announced in May a revised schedule pushing certification and first delivery to April 2003.

Embraer puts the blame on "delays experienced in aircraft systems and software development" rather than last month's incident in which a 170 prototype was damaged during runway water ingestion testing (Flight International, 17-23 September).

The company expects the aircraft to return to flight soon once its main landing gear is replaced and nacelle repaired.

Avionics supplier and 170 programme risk-sharing partner Honeywell says: "We're working aggressively to meet Embraer's requirements. The avionics we provide for the 170 is a sophisticated new system enabled by new technology that produces a capability well beyond that provided by traditional avionics."

Embraer, meanwhile, is pushing ahead with ground testing the sixth and final 170 prototype, which has still to fly. High-intensity radiated field tests were completed last month ahead of schedule, along with lightning tests on the aircraft's wing, control surfaces and radome. Indirect lightning effects testing is scheduled to be wrapped up next month.

Source: Flight International