British airline Flybe has struck a deal with Brazilian plane manufacturer Embraer to buy 35 aircraft worth 1.3 billion US dollars, as it drives expansion in continental Europe. The announcement was done Tuesday during the Farnborough Air Show in England.
The order, which comprises 35 firm initial orders of the Embraer E series aircraft for 1.3 billion with options for 65 more and purchase rights for a further 40, has a potential total value of 5 billion US dollars.
The Embraer 175 has an 88 passenger capacity. The first is to be delivered September 2011, with successive deliveries until March 2017.
Flybe chairman and chief executive Jim French said he was confident of growth, despite challenges earlier year this from the ash cloud and nervous consumer sentiment. “We have grown by about 20% compound (in the past), we see anything up to 10% going forward,” he said.
He added the group was confident of its business model which focuses on domestic flights from smaller regional airports, after maintaining a profit through the recession.
“The 175 will give Flybe significant added capacity and is particularly suited to the sector lengths prevalent in Europe that we are most interested in exploiting. In short, it perfectly fits the Flybe business model and we are delighted to be extending our long-running partnership with Embraer”, said French.
“We have enjoyed an excellent relationship with Embraer since we became the world’s launch customer for the 195 aircraft. The 195 has been a superb addition to the fleet with outstanding reliability and performance”.
“We today also throw down the challenge to the regional airline manufacturers to develop a new form of jet to be available in 2017. We want manufacturers to combine the economic and environmental performance of the turboprop with the positive benefits of jet performance. Such a combination will provide the right technological platform from 2020 onwards” underlined CEO French.
Paulo Cesar de Souza e Silva, Embraer Executive Vice President says: Flybe's decision to select the Embraer 175 to compliment its existing fleet of 14 E-Jets is great news indeed, and we thank you our friends from Flybe for this sign of trust in our E-Jet family. Sharing more than 86% commonality with the Embraer 195, the E-175 will continue meeting Flybe's stringent requirements for cost efficiency and high levels of comfort and functionality.
Flybe currently is one of Europe’s biggest regional airlines flying to 13 countries, 198 routes, 32 European airports and operates a fleet of 73 airplanes. The number of passengers transported in 2008 was 7.5 million with revenues of £ 536 million.
Following the successful acquisition and integration of BA Connect in March 2007, the route network is 76% domestic UK, 14% European business and 10% European leisure destinations.