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Embraer, the Brazilian aircraft manufacturer, and now the fourth largest in the world, has entered into a preliminary agreement with Lufthansa to supply 30 ERJ 170 series regional jets as a replacement for its aging BAe 146 fleet. In total Lufthansa, and its various subsidiaries, operate more than 60 BAe 146s and its Avro RJ development.
Swissair, now Swiss International Air Lines and owned by Lufthansa, was the lead airline for the ERJ 170, the first aircraft rolled out in that airline”s colours in October 2001. Subsequently the order was delayed and delayed with deliveries now starting in 2009.
The ERJ 170 is not as yet certificated for London City Airport although much work and effort has been put in. Assuming that the aircraft can operate economically into the airport”s 1199m (3,900ft) runway, it is likely that the many BAe 146 and derivatives now active into LCY will be replaced by the smaller of the Embraer regional jets, the 170.
Embraer says that the Swiss order has remained on the books and this announcement, for 15 ERJ 170s and 15 ERJ 195s, does not substantially alter the company”s existing firm backlog.
Embraer”s importance as a major aircraft manufacturer was emphasised by a visit from His Royal Highness, Prince Andrew, the Duke of York, to the company”s headquarters in S”o Jos” dos Campos. Prince Andrew, an experienced pilot, was in Brazil in his role as the United Kingdom's Special Representative for International Trade and Investment.