South African regional carrier SA Airlink (Pty) Ltd, which operates as Airlink, is becoming an operator of the Embraer E-Jets family.
Airlink, which according to Embraer is Southern Africa’s largest independent regional airline, is acquiring three Embraer 170s and two Embraer 190s from ECC Leasing, a wholly owned subsidiary of Embraer.
On January 19, 2018, Embraer announced that South African regional carrier Airlink had agreed to lease three Embraer 170s and two Embraer 190s (one of which is seen here) from Embraer subsidiary ECC Leasing. Airlink planned to acquire a total of 13 E-Jets in all, to replace its Avro RJ85s on a one-for-one basis
The carrier will start to receive the aircraft in the first half of 2017.
“This is the beginning of the implementation of a well planned growth and modernization strategy for Airlink that includes replacing our current fleet of Avro RJ85s over the next three years,” says Rodger Foster, CEO of Airlink. “The strategy calls for a total of 13 E-Jets, and we are in the process of sourcing the balance of the fleet requirement – an additional 8 E190s – from the market.”
Adds Foster: “The unique performance characteristics of the E-Jet family will enable Airlink to operate within the challenging environment of the region, including short field and ‘hot and high’ operations, while managing capacity and providing for growth.”
Foster continues:, “the E190’s ETOPS (Extended Twin Engine Operations) capability and range presents Airlink with new market opportunities to address isolated destinations that were previously beyond our reach and in some instances that have never enjoyed the privilege of reliable scheduled air services.”
Airlink already operates a large fleet of Embraer ERJ-family regional jets. Last December, the airline started to add 11 ERJ 140 jets to its fleet.
By the end of the fourth quarter of 2017, the airline will be operating 30 ERJs, comprising all three members of the ERJ family ‒ the ERJ-135, ERJ-140 and ERJ-145.