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Friday, June 22, 2007

ERJ 170 Approved for LCY, BSRC Fuels LCY Expansion

Kathryn Creedy

The Embraer (ERJ) ERJ 170 gained certification from the Brazilian National Civil Aviation Agency and the European Aviation Safety Agency to serve London City Airport. The first of the E-Jets family to be certified for the steep-approach certification, the 170 will be followed by the ERJ 190 with certification set for December 2008. LCY requires a glide slope of 5.5 degrees compared to the standard 3.0 degrees. The Cessna Citation Mustang gained EASA certification last month, along with steep approach certification. This milestone enables the Mustang to land at airports with instrument approaches steeper-than-a-4.5-degree approach angle. Steep approach certification is the first step in the approval process at airports such as London City and requires special authorization through the airport administration for both the aircraft and the pilots landing there.
"The capability for operating at London City Airport is something that we have promised to the market from the very beginning of the ERJ 170 design," said Mauro Kern, Embraer's executive vice president, Airline Market. "It was a big challenge overcome by our development team. European airlines can now count on an important tool to fly to/from the high-yield LCY market." The ERJ 170 will perform the steep approach using a software solution developed on the existing fly-by-wire system, which means improved flying qualities and control and reduced pilot workload, with less weight and maintenance cost. The range of the aircraft (over 750 nautical miles, or 1,389 km) covers all current routes operated from LCY and affords the flexibility to add new destinations in a high-yield market.

LCY Expansion Fueled by BAe 146
London City Airport  is undergoing a major jet service expansion this year with the BAE Systems BAe 146/Avro RJ jetliner. In August, Oslo becomes the latest city to be connected to the high-yield city center airport when Swedish airline Transwede starts operating a twice-daily rotation on behalf of SAS, using one of its Avro RJ70s. Transwede already operates the RJ70 on the Stockholm Arlanda-LCY service on behalf of SAS.
Late last year, Transwede leased three RJ70s from Regional Aircraft for services on behalf of Italian carrier Air One from LCY to Milan Linate and Rome Fiumicino Airports. Transwede concentrates on providing wet lease operations from London City.
Another new jet operator from the airport is Belgian carrier VLM Airlines which started using a BAe 146-300 on the Rotterdam-LCY service in April. Over the past 14 years VLM  has grown to be the largest operator flying to and from LCY offering over 100 flights each weekday using 50-seat Fokker 50s. VLM is evaluating the BAe 146 performance this year and may order more 146s for other high-density markets in its network.
A total of seven airlines now operate the 80- to 112-seat BAe 146/Avro RJ from London City and the aircraft accounts for 44 percent of daily scheduled departures and 62 percent of daily scheduled seats. Of these seven airlines, five have expanded service or introduced new routes to LCY during the past eight months using the BAe 146/Avro RJ, which was cleared to operate commercially from the extended 1199 meter runway, steep-approach airport in February 1992.
CityJet, the wholly-owned subsidiary of Air France, which is in the process of upgrading its entire fleet with the addition of 23 Avro RJ85s, has announced a dramatic expansion of service from LCY. In addition to providing six-daily flights from Paris Orly and five-daily flights from Dublin under the Air France banner, the airline launched its’ CityJet for Air France’ services. This latest offering, which started in late March, will see the progressive introduction of RJ85 services from LCY to destinations such as Geneva, Madrid, Milan Linate, Nice and Zurich, as well as services in association with Scot Airways to Belfast Harbour, Dundee and Edinburgh.
Similarly, British Airways CityFlyer, which is now totally focussed on LCY operations, is expanding services by more than 70 percent this year, to run a total of 250 flights a week. In March, new services commenced to Glasgow and Zurich, each served four times a day, and frequencies were increased on the Edinburgh route to eight daily. Frankfurt, Madrid and Milan Malpensa also continue to be served.
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