Yesterday, Brazilian aircraft maker Embraer made its first sale of jets to an Arab country. The state-owned Saudi Arabian Airlines, which has been operating in the Middle East for 60 years, announced the purchase of 15 Embraer 170 aircraft.
The contract, according to the Brazilian company, is for around US$ 400 million and will be signed on Wednesday, April 27, in Riyadh, the Saudi capital.
The deliveries will begin in December this year. The price list cost of each unit is US$ 26.5 million. The president of Embraer, Maurício Botelho, stated that the order represents a marker in business with that region. “We are proud to offer our first regional jets to Saudi Arabia.”
To the director general of Saudi Arabian Airlines, Khaled Ben-Bakr, the Embraer jets were chosen because the company is the world leader in production of regional jets.
In a statement released by the company, Ben-Bakr declared that “this choice is a reflex of the trust we have in Embraer.” Before signing the deal with the Brazilian company, executives from Saudi got in contact with Canadian company Bombardier, the main Embraer competitor.
So as to sell to the Saudis, the Embraer 170 was configured for 66 passengers, six being first class and the rest executive class. According to company information, this is not a common request.
“As the aircraft is made for short trips – from three to four hours – many customers operate only with the executive class,” stated a company spokesperson.
Currently, Embraer has 172 firm orders for the 170 model. Of this volume, 56 were delivered between last year and this year. In the first quarter of this year alone, the company delivered 10 aircraft.
The main clients are US Airways and Republic Airline, from the United States, Swiss, from Switzerland, Lot, from Poland, Cirrus, from Germany and Italian company Alitalia.
The Embraer 170 started flying at the end of last year. The first sales of the aircraft were to Lot, US and Alitalia. However, the company has been working on the model since 1999, when it was officially released at the Paris Air Show, in France.
The jet is part of the Embraer 170/190 family, which has three other models developed to supply the growing demand for aircraft for up to 120 passengers.
A study made by the Brazilian company, last year, showed that in the next 20 years, they will have produced 7,800 medium sized jets (called super mid-size) to supply the global market.
Up to 2014, Embraer forecasts that the company will deliver 3,200 aeroplanes. The others – 4,600 – will be delivered between 2015 and 2024.
The study also shows that Europe, Africa and the Middle East have 26% of the market, with a purchase capacity of 1,991 jets for up to 120 passengers in the next 20 years.
The North Americans, however, will continue leading the market in the next decades, they will purchase 4,165 aeroplanes. China is also included in the Embraer ranking, in the third position, with a potential for purchase of 635 jets in the period.
About Saudi Arabian
Saudi Arabian Airlines was established in 1945. The company followed a very individual path. The company’s first aircraft was given to Saudi king Abdul Aziz as a present by US president Franklin Roosevelt. It was a DC-3. A few months later, the Saudis purchased another two DC-3’s. That was the beginning of the airline.
At the beginning, the company operated regional charter flights and flights to Europe. London was one of the first destinations outside the Arab world. In little time, the company received certificates for quality and services. Saudi was also one of the first airlines to prohibit smoking on its aeroplanes, in 1987.
As the regional demand for flights was big, the company soon started breaking passenger records and had to increase its fleet. Last year, from January to July, Saudi Arabian transported around 9.7 million passengers.
The company currently has 139 aeroplanes, among them modern planes like the Boeing 747 and 777 family and Airbus – A300-600. These aircraft operate on international routes, on longer flights. Among the countries that the company flies to are Spain, the United States, France, Italy, London and Japan.
ANBA – Brazil-Arab News Agency
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