Flybe invests £1.3bn in new regional aircraft

Flybe has signaled further European expansion by placing an order worth £1.3 billion for up to 140 new regional aircraft.

The first 88-seat Embraer 175 aircraft is to be delivered in September 2011 with the final scheduled delivery on the firm orders being made in March 2017.

The airline has committed to 35 firm orders, with 65 on option and 40 purchase options.

Flybe chairman and chief executive Jim French said: “The 175 will give Flybe significant added capacity and is particularly suited to the sector lengths prevalent in Europe that we are most interested in exploiting.”

He added: “We today also throw down the challenge to the regional airline manufacturers to develop a new form of jet to be available in 2017. 

“We want manufacturers to combine the economic and environmental performance of the turboprop with the positive benefits of jet performance. Such a combination will provide the right technological platform from 2020 onwards.”

Embraer executive vice president Paulo Cesar de Souza e Silva said: “Flybe’s decision to select the Embraer 175 to complement its existing fleet of 14 E-Jets is great news.

“Sharing more than 86% commonality with the Embraer 195, the E-175 will continue meeting Flybe’s stringent requirements for cost efficiency and high levels of comfort and functionality.”

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