Monday, May 22, 2006
- ATR: Aer Arann, an Irish regional airline, ordered 10 new 72-seat ATR72-500s in a deal worth more than $180 million. It is the single largest aircraft investment by a private Irish passenger airline and the third largest in Irish history, said the carrier. The deal allows Aer Arann to replace and supplement its existing fleet of 14 ATR42 and ATR72 aircraft, and will bring the carrier's fleet to 20 by the end of 2009. Two aircraft will be delivered next year, five in 2008 and three in 2009.
- The Government of Ecuatorial Guinea ordered three new ATR42 aircraft in a deal valued at $50 million. The contract is the first between ATR and the government. The number of African operators of the ATR aircraft now stands at 21. The three new aircraft, one ATR42-500 and two ATR72-500s, are scheduled for delivery over the next three years and slated for the country's national airline service.
- Bombardier: Five airlines have booked orders with Bombardier (BBD) for the Q400. South Korea's Jeju Air took delivery of its first 74-seat Bombardier Q400. A subsidiary of Aekyung Group, the airline holds options for an additional three Q400s. The delivery was a first for the fledgling airline, which plans to connect the mainland with the vacation destination of Jeju Island. The 15-month old company placed its order last June, representing the first Bombardier order for South Korea.
- Japan Air Commuter (JAC), part of the JAL Group, ordered an 11th Bombardier Q400. Based in Kagoshima, JAC is the country's largest regional airline, carrying 1.44 million passenger last year. Bombardier has delivered 730 Q Series aircraft as of January 31, 2006.
- South African Express took delivery of the first of two Q400 turboprops, becoming the first such operator on the continent. Independently owned, the South African Airways partner airline celebrated its 12th anniversary at the same time and plans to use the new aircraft on its routes between Johannesburg to Bloemfontein and George. It flies to 13 destinations within South Africa and provides service to Namibia, Botswana and the Democratic Republic of Congo.
- Fledgling carrier Arik Air converted two options to firm orders for the Bombardier CRJ900, becoming the first African operator of the type and first airline to introduce new commercial aircraft into Nigeria since 1982. The Lagos-based airline will operate the aircraft on domestic routes beginning in July. It will offer two classes, including 10 business class seats and 65 economy seats. The airline will also operate used Boeing 737s and three used 50-seat CRJ200s RJs. Arik Air is a new airline scheduled to launch service in July with plans to introduce international routes to the U.S., U.K. and Far East by 2008.
- Rome, Italy-based Air One ordered six 90-passenger CJR900s in addition to taking options on four additional -900s in an order valued at $215 million. Air One, Italy's second largest carrier, recently orderd 30 Airbus A320s to replace a fleet of 30 Boeing 737s. It also operates Air One Executive, a charter airline.
- Embraer: In an order valued at $140 million, Geneva-based JetBird became the European launch customer when it announced the acquisition of 50 Phenom 100s and option for 50 more, Embraer (ERJ) announced during the EBACE conference. JetBird describes itself as the first low-cost, on-demand, executive jet service in Europe and initially will base its aircraft in Zurich before expanding to other European cities. The order includes the flexibility for JetBird to convert some of its options to the Phenom 300. JetBird is expected to take delivery of its first Phenom 100 and have it enter service in mid-2008. The Phenom 100 is priced at $2.5 million, while the large Phenom 300 is $6.65 million.
- Embraer signed a support contract with the Indian government covering five Legacy 600 executive jets in operation with the Indian Air Force and Border Security Force. The 10-year contract includes a spares exchange program, repairs, technical assistance services, including field support, back-office engineering, technical publications updates, recurrent training and rentals for ground support equipment. The company called it the most complete support program offered to a defense customer in Asia.
- Embraer also announced two more Legacy 600s in the Middle East, bringing to the region seven of the 16-passenger executive jets. The two $23.6-million aircraft went to Adnan Kassar, chair and CEO of Franzabank SAL in Beirut. Kassar, who takes delivery of the aircraft in the third quarter of 2006, also is chair of the General Union of Arab Chambers of Commerce, Industry and Agriculture. Kuwait-based Celtel International, a wholly owned subsidiary of the mobile phone service provider MTS, took the second Legacy, scheduled for delivery in the fourth quarter. The jets also are operating in Saudi Arabia and United Arab Emirates.
- Saab: Skyways Aviation sold its last Saab 340A once flown by its sister company, SkyWays Express of Sweden, to Bridges Worldwide, a Hong Kong-based freight operator. The aircraft currently is undergoing cargo conversion at Saab in Linkoping. Bridges Worldwide supports the networks of major freight companies including DHL, FedEx, TNT and UPS. Skyways, originally formed to manage the aircraft leasing and trading transaction within Skyways AB group, placed 21 340s last year.