The chasm separating the realm of full-size airliners and regional airplanes has claimed another victim, swallowing the Boeing 717 as surely as it did the Fokker 100 and British Aerospace 146/Avro RJ. So who, you ask, would dare tempt fate again? All signs point to Canada’s Bombardier.
The Airholding consortium led by Embraer of Brazil, with EADS as a minority partner, has taken a majority stake in Portuguese aircraft maintenance specialist Ogma, following the latter’s privatization late last year. European Union competition authorities have since approved the ?11.4 million ($14 million) deal, in which a company controlled by the Portuguese government retains the remaining 35 percent of the shareholding.
Acquisitions and factory expansion, especially in low-cost production locations, led to an almost one-third jump in year-over-year revenues in 2004 at French aerospace equipment maker Latécoère. According to president and CEO François Bernard, production increased across all its aerostructures programs, and especially for the new Airbus A380 airliner, the Dassault Falcon 7X business jet and the Embraer 170/190 regional jets.
Brazil’s Embraer has once again lowered its projection for the small regional jet segment, predicting a 10-year demand for just 500 units in the 30- to 60-seat segment in its latest market outlook for the airline and business jet markets. Just two-and-a-half years ago Embraer projected a 10-year market for 1,745 airplanes in the 30- to 60-seat jet category.
Embraer has named Premier Air Center/West Star Aviation’s Grand Junction and Dallas locations factory-authorized service centers for the new Embraer Phenom 100 VLJ and Phenom 300 light jet. Under the terms of the agreement, the Colorado and Dallas locations will be authorized to perform warranty repairs
on both models.
Luxair, Luxembourg’s one-third government-owned private carrier, is rationalizing its regional-airline fleet and route system to improve productivity and profitability. “We’re restructuring everything, including the network,” Luxair executive vice president Martin Isler told AIN.
Exeter, UK-based Flybe has agreed to buy most of British Airways’ BA Connect subsidiary. In return, BA will take a 15-percent stake in Flybe, which plans to retire all the BA Connect airplanes now in the British Airways stable and replace them with Bombardier Q400s and Embraer E195s. British Airways CEO Willie Walsh told reporters he expected to conclude the deal by year-end.
Brisbane, Australia-based Virgin Blue placed a firm order last month for three Embraer E170s and 11 E190s, along with options on another six airplanes, giving the Brazilian airframe maker its largest-ever sale on the continent.
On Sunday night a Brazilian air force Embraer EMB-145 ANEW&C landed at the Dubai airshow to make the type’s first appearance outside South America, at the start of Operação Guardião–a demonstration tour that will also take the aircraft to December’s LIMA show in Malaysia. The aircraft flew from Brazil with six stops along the way.
This past year has seen Embraer’s influence traverse industry sectors and spread to every corner of the globe. No longer simply a regional airline supplier, the Brazilian company has seen its products find homes with the likes of Air Canada, Finnair, Hong Kong Express, Panama’s Copa and India’s Paramount Airlines.