Finnair is latest Embraer convert

 - July 24, 2007, 9:54 AM

The newly established leasing arm of Finnish flag carrier Finnair last month placed a firm order for 12 Embraer 170 regional jets as part of a deal worth more than $300 million that calls for first delivery of the 76-seat airplanes by the fall of next year. The contract, signed by Finnair Aircraft Finance, includes options for another eight Embraer 175s and/or 190s, raising the potential value of the deal to $510 million. Helsinki-based Finnair expects to take deliveries from September of next year through May 2007.

The airline plans eventually to replace its 13 MD-82/83s and nine ATR 72s with the Embraer jets as part of a fleet renewal plan that has already seen the replacement of half of Finnair’s fleet over the past five years. According to Finnair, the Embraer 170s will fill a capacity void below its 126-seat Airbus A319s on both domestic feeder routes and longer-range European services. “Our efficiency will improve as our route network and services become more varied,” said Finnair president and CEO Keijo Suila. “The new aircraft will give us flexibility to serve our clients on more routes and outside peak hours as well.” Suila added that the change will result in a 30-percent reduction in fuel consumption and lower landing fees.