The largest member of Embraer’s E-Jet line of single-aisle airplanes is making its international airshow debut here in Paris, only a week after the Brazilian airframe builder landed a launch order for 14 from the UK’s FlyBE. The Exeter-based low-fare, full-service carrier plans to replace its fleet of aging BAe 146 quadjets with the Brazilian twin, scheduled for delivery from August 2006 to November 2007. The $470 million contract also includes options for another 12 airplanes.
“This completes our fleet rationalization strategy commenced in 2003 and will give us the youngest fleet in the airline sector,” said FlyBE chairman and managing director Jim French. “It also means that the business has addressed the strategic question of how to replace the 146 and provide a 10-year platform for profitable growth.”
Configured in a high-density, 118-seat configuration, FlyBE’s 195s seat 10 more passengers than the standard 108-seat layout with a 32-inch seat pitch as defined by Embraer.
The 195 flew for the first time last December 7, marking the start of a year-and-a-half-long certification campaign. Perhaps the least conspicuous of the family despite its big-brother status, the airplane until last week hadn’t drawn a firm order since Switzerland’s Crossair placed its launch order in 1999. Since assuming the role of Switzerland’s flagcarrier in place of the defunct Swissair, the airline now known as Swiss International Air Lines has cut its firm order in half, to fifteen 195s and fifteen 70-seat 170s, and reduced its option total to 20. Although it holds nonrefundable deposits, Embraer finally stopped counting the orders in its annual production rate forecasts after Swiss delayed deliveries indefinitely.
Under Embraer’s latest schedules, the 195 would gain certification by the second quarter of next year. With structural reinforcements recently introduced in the 190 and 195AR, the biggest Embraer jet will now fly a full passenger load as far as 2,100 nm, giving it enough range to fly from the East Coast of the U.S. to the Rocky Mountains.