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Monday, November 12, 2007

Quick Takes – RJ Engines, AE, Mesa, Embraer

Willis Acquired RJ Aircraft Engine Leasing Biz
Willis Lease Finance Corporation, a leading lessor of commercial jet engines, is expanding its regional airline engine leasing business through the acquisition of Whirlwind Leasing's regional airline engine fleet for $10 million. As part of the agreement, Whirlwind has signed an exclusive five-year service agreement to provide marketing and technical support for Willis Lease's growing regional aircraft business that targets repair and overhaul providers serving regional airlines.

Direct to the Big Apple From Flint, Mich., on American Eagle Airlines
American Eagle launched nonstop service between New York's LaGuardia Airport (LGA) and Bishop International Airport in Flint, Mich. (FNT). American Eagle operates the service with its 37-seat Embraer ERJ-135 jets.

Mesa Air Group's New CRJ-900s Enter Service for Delta Connection
The first two of 14, seventy-six seat Bombardier CRJ-900 Next Generation aircraft entered service November 1 as the aircraft began service for the Mesa subsidiary Freedom Airlines’ Delta Connection program. The operation of the new aircraft was announced in March 2007 and represents an expansion of the Mesa's existing agreement with Delta Air Lines. Related Story Freedom currently operates 36 Embraer 145LR and two Bombardier 76 seat CRJ-900 aircraft with over 200 daily flights for Delta Connection under separate agreements.
"Everyone at Mesa is delighted Delta has given us the opportunity to expand our partnership,” said Mesa Air Group Chairman and CEO, Jonathan Ornstein. “Once all 14 aircraft are delivered, we will operate a total of 50 aircraft under the Delta Connection banner. Mesa is also the only regional airline to operate this type of aircraft for two major airline partners. We believe our industry leading low costs and commitment to service will allow us to continue to expand our operations with existing partners as well as develop new partnerships in the future," Mr. Ornstein added.
The first two aircraft were delivered last month and are configured with 12 First Class and 64 Coach Class seats and begin revenue service today operating in the New York, JFK and Dallas-Fort Worth market. The remaining 12 aircraft are scheduled to be delivered over the next 16 months.

ERJ Sales to BRA at Risk
BRA Transportes Aéreos ceased service while seeking a cash infusion, putting in doubt its recent Embraer deal worth between $730 million and $1.46 billion. BRA signed a preliminary commercial agreement for 20 firm orders of the Embraer ERJ-195 jet, plus 20 options. Embraer said it is carefully following the unfolding developments but added it will not have a negative impact on delivery forecasts. The airline cited the over year-long aviation crisis in Brazil.

Thai Military Takes ERJ 135s
Embraer signed contracts with the Royal Thai Army and the Royal Thai Navy for the sale of two ERJ 135 LR (Long-Range) jets. Both agreements include a substantial logistics package, reflecting Embraer’s Defense and Government business expansion in the Asia Pacific region. The new ERJ 135 jets will be used for government transportation by the Royal Thai Army and by the Royal Thai Navy, as well as for Medical Evacuation (MEDEVAC) missions by the Royal Thai Navy.
In the Defense and Government Market, the ERJ 135 platform has performed government transportation and medical evacuation missions for Brazil and such nations as Belgium, Greece, India, and Nigeria. Owing to its high level of commonality with the ERJ 145 jets, the ERJ 135 version makes it possible for a single air unit to handle a broad variety of missions.
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