Wexford Aviation has signed a letter of intent for 40 Embraer RJ-135 37-seat regional jets, worth $500 million. The agreement is similar to an earlier deal for 20 firm orders, with 20 options, for Embraer RJ-145 50-seat regional jets, worth $700 million.

Greenwich, Connecticut-based investment firm Wexford plans to place some of the ERJ-135s and ERJ-145s in service with an unidentified US regional airline which it is acquiring, and the rest will be offered worldwide on operating lease, says executive vice-president Ed Wegel.

Wexford's first ERJ-145 is to be delivered in November and its first ERJ-135 is scheduled for delivery in November 1999, Wegel says. The ERJ-135 prototype, basically an ERJ-145 with a section of fuselage removed, is expected to be flown in the second half of 1998, Embraer says.

Wegel, as part of the investor group which privatised BWIA International Airlines, placed an order for ten ERJ-145s which the Caribbean carrier subsequently cancelled. "They couldnot work out what to do with them," he says. "If they had just held on to the delivery positions, they could have sold them now for a lot of money."

Source: Flight International