Air Dolomiti takes first of Lufthansa’s 30 E195s

 - March 2, 2009, 6:12 AM

Embraer delivered the first of 30 E-Jets ordered by Lufthansa–a 116-seat E195–
to its Italian subsidiary Air Dolomiti on January 27, marking the start of a fleet renewal plan expected to bring five of Embraer’s biggest product to the Italian regional’s Munich hub during the first half of this year. Although headquartered at Milan Malpensa, Air Dolomiti flies a fleet of six 46-seat ATR 42s, eight 64-seat ATR 72s and five 99-seat BAe 146-300s mainly out of Munich. It plans to replace the aging BAe 146s with the E195s, while Lufthansa decides how it will distribute the remaining 25 E-Jets to other partner airlines.

As circumstances stand now, plans call for up to 20 E190s/E195s to go to Lufthansa CityLine, but only if a labor conflict with that regional’s pilots gets resolved to Lufthansa’s satisfaction. Lufthansa still holds the option to take any mix of E190s and E195s among the 25 whose placement the airline has yet to confirm. However, Embraer expects to deliver all by 2011.

As late as last summer Lufthansa had planned to send six E195s to Air Dolomiti and fly them on routes now planned for a new Airbus A319 operation based in Milan known as Lufthansa Italia. Plans call for the new airline to launch within two months and directly link Italian cities with other European destinations while bypassing Lufthansa’s hubs in Frank- furt and Munich. It represents an attempt by the German airline to draw passengers from ailing Alitalia’s network without taking over the Italian airline and assuming its huge debt and staff problems.