Regional airline in South Africa to acquire 5 E-jets

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South African regional airline Airlink will acquire three Embraer E170s and two E190s from Embraer subsidiary ECC Leasing, as part of a wider plan to take 13 E-Jets in total.

An Embraer spokesman confirmed to ATW the aircraft have been sold, rather than leased, by ECC to Airlink.

Independently owned Airlink will start to receive the aircraft in the first half of 2017, marking the type’s South African debut.

“This is the beginning of the implementation of a well-planned growth and modernization strategy for Airlink that includes replacing our current fleet of Avro RJ85s over the next three years. The strategy calls for a total of 13 E-Jets, and we are in the process of sourcing the balance of the fleet requirement—an additional eight E190s—from the market,” Airlink CEO Rodger Foster said.

Foster added the E-Jets had been selected for their short-field, hot-and-high and extended twin-engine operations (ETOPS) capabilities, as well as their potential to support Airlink’s growth.

“The E190’s ETOPS capability and range presents Airlink with new market opportunities to address isolated destinations that were previously beyond our reach and, in some instances, that have never enjoyed the privilege of reliable scheduled air services,” Foster said.

Airlink already operates a large ERJ fleet and, last December, it started to add a further 11 ERJ140s. By the end of the fourth quarter of 2017, Airlink will be operating 30 ERJs, spanning all three types: the ERJ135, ERJ140 and ERJ145.

The Johannesburg-based airline serves 36 destinations in nine African countries, carrying more than 1.4 million passengers on 44,800 flights annually with a 30:70 split in favor of business travelers.

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