More E190s Destined for China, Embraer to Build Legacies in Harbin

 - April 12, 2011, 7:43 AM

Brazil’s Embraer notched another 10-aircraft order from China’s CDB Leasing for E190s today, the first day of a state visit by Brazilian president Dilma Rousseff to the People’s Republic. CDB also signed a letter of intent to buy a third tranche of 10 E190s, potentially bringing to 30 the total number of the 100-seat jets on order by the Chinese leasing company. The tripartite agreement included China Southern Airlines, which has agreed to lease all 30 airplanes from CDB. China Southern now ranks as the third largest airline in China.

The deal follows a separate order signed earlier in the day between Embraer and China’s Hebei Airlines for yet another 10 E190s. Embraer plans to deliver the first of the new jets in September 2012. Now flying two Embraer ERJ-145s along with a pair of Boeing 737s and an Airbus A319 and A320, Hebei launched operations with the help of the Hebei Provincial government last June. According to Embraer, the E190s will help Hebei support “near-term expansion.”

The contracts accompanied a new industrial agreement Embraer reached with China’s Avic to retool the ERJ-145 plant the companies jointly operate in Harbin, China, to build Legacy 650 business jets. Embraer has long awaited a decision by the Chinese authorities on whether or not they will allow it to build E190s at the plant, but a new framework agreement signed today instead calls for a far easier transition to the Legacy 600/650. In a statement issued today, Embraer said the parties would finalize the details of the project and execute the relevant documentation in the next few weeks.

As of last month, the Harbin-Embraer backlog consisted of just two more ERJ-145s, expected to go to Tianjin Airlines some time this spring.