China’s CDB Leasing bought 10 Embraer E190s for lease to the country’s largest airline, China Southern, Embraer announced last month. The deal follows a memorandum of understanding (MOU) signed between Embraer and CDB in December 2009, under which the parties agreed to collaborate on up to $2.2 billion worth of business over a three-year period. The sale of 10 E190s marks the first transaction completed under the framework of the MOU.
Embraer plans to deliver the first E190 to China Southern in the second half of this year. China Southern now flies six 50-seat ERJ-145s built by the Harbin-Embraer Aircraft joint venture in Harbin, China. By the middle of this year Harbin-Embraer expects to build the last ERJ-145 on back order, leaving the factory idle for the first time since Embraer and its Chinese partners launched the project in 2003.
While the market for new 50-seat jets appears all but evaporated, Embraer continues to sell the larger E-Jets in China, and had hoped to reach a deal with the Chinese to convert the factory in Harbin to an E190 manufacturing site. In fact, it had set a deadline of the end of last year to reach a deal, but, according to an Embraer spokesperson, negotiations continue.
The E190 went into operation in the Chinese market in 2008. With the new order to CDB, Embraer plans to deliver at least 29 E190s to China “in the coming years.”