United Airlines has placed a firm order for 30 Embraer 175 jets and optioned 40 more, potentially taking United’s firm order to a total of 70 aircraft.
If United Airlines exercises all 40 options, the order has an estimated value of $2.9 billion at current list prices, according to Embraer.
“With this order for the new enhanced E175 jet, we are delighted to reinforce and extend our long-standing partnership with United Airlines, which was the ERJ-145 launch customer back in 1996, [since United was] known at that time as Continental Airlines,” says Paulo Cesar Silva, president and CEO of Embraer Commercial Aviation.
“This order from United, one of the world’s leading airlines, validates our investment strategy in the E-Jets, where we offer an optimized product with all of the additional benefits of a proven and mature platform,” adds Silva.
The partnership between Embraer and United, which is the product of the 2010 merger of United Airlines and Continental Airlines, started with the sale of EMB-120 Brasilia turboprops to Continental Airlines in the 1980s.
Subsequently, Continental was also the launch customer for the Embraer ERJ-145 regional jet. Continental eventually acquired 275 ERJs, the largest ERJ fleet in the world, for its former subsidiary Continental Express (which Continental later spun off as ExpressJet, which was subsequently purchased by regional-airline holding company SkyWest, Inc.).
Currently, 38 Embraer 170 regional jets are flying with United’s regional partners under the United Express brand.
The Embraer 175s will be operated under the United Express brand, according to Embraer, which says the aircraft will be configured in a 76-seat layout.
United’s first Embraer 175 delivery is scheduled for the first quarter of 2014.
“At United, we are focused on modernizing our fleet, and we look forward to introducing the E175 to our United Express service,” says Jim Compton, United’s vice chairman and chief revenue officer.
“Compared to the 50-seat aircraft we are replacing, these aircraft provide a superior customer experience and are more fuel efficient,” adds Compton. “With a large first-class cabin, wider fuselage, and larger overhead bins, this aircraft brings an improved regional flying experience to our customers.”
Embraer continues to invest in its E-Jets family, which is flown by more than 60 airlines from more than 40 countries.
The manufacturer has begun implementing a series of enhancements to the Embraer 175, including new wingtips, systems optimization, and aerodynamic refinements that Embraer says will lower fuel burn by as much as 5 per cent. Longer maintenance intervals and component improvements will increase aircraft productivity and bring maintenance costs down.
All of the United Airlines deliveries will include these enhancements, according to Embraer.
More than 150 Embraer 175s are currently in service with 12 carriers. The aircraft offers a 2,000-nautical mile (3,706-kilometer) range, short-field performance, and good hot-and-high capability.