Copa Airlines of Panama announced today its acquisition of ten Embraer 190 commercial jets with an option for 20 additional aircraft. The airline’s first delivery is planned for November 2005.
The order is Embraer’s first in Latin America for its family of 70 to 110-seat E-Jets, a new-generation of commercial aircraft, featuring advanced engineering design, and a more spacious cabin.
Copa is the undisclosed customer from Embraer’s order book and, therefore, the current order backlog is not affected by this announcement.
As the national airline of Panama, Copa Airlines has built an international network in its 57-year history and established Panama City as the “Hub of the Americas” from which it serves 31 destinations in 20 countries with an all-Boeing B737 fleet.
The new Embraer 190s will allow Copa to better match capacity to demand in small markets that can be more efficiently served by 100-seat aircraft.
According to Pedro Heilbron, Copa Airlines’ CEO, the Embraer 190 offered the best solution to the company’s future fleet requirements.
“The aircraft fits our diverse operating environment and allows us to right-size aircraft seat capacity, improve service to smaller but important cities in our network and add incremental frequencies and destinations as demand grows.”
The airline will configure its Embraer 190s with 94 seats in two classes.
“In our evaluation, it was important that the candidate aircraft offer a high level of consistency with Clase Ejecutiva, our premium cabin product.
“The Embraer 190’s ample galley arrangement and wide cabin will give all our customers an unprecedented amount of personal space, while maintaining the quality of in-flight service found on our larger aircraft.”
The Copa Airlines acquisition of the Embraer 190 represents a departure from the single-fleet type philosophy of many airlines.
“I am not only delighted to reveal such a prestigious and innovative carrier as our newest Embraer customer, I am particularly pleased that Copa shares our philosophy that there is enormous potential in capacity right-sizing with our E-Jets family,” said Embraer President and CEO, Mauricio Botelho.
“Copa’s decision is a testimony to the new market reality that one aircraft size no longer fits all.”
One of four aircraft in Embraer’s family of E-Jets, the Embraer 190 is continuing its flight test campaign in anticipation of certification by the third quarter of 2005, when the first deliveries of the model are to begin.
As of June 30, 2004, the Embraer 170/190 family orderbook stood at 273 firm and 347 options.
The 70-seat Embraer 170 is currently in service with US Airways Express, LOT Polish Airlines and Alitalia Express.
Embraer is the world’s leading manufacturer of commercial jets up to 110 seats.
Empresa Brasileira de Aeronautica S.A.