JetBlue Founder, a Brazilian, Starts Brazil Airline

Brazilian entrepreneur David Neeleman Brazilian aircraft maker Embraer, has signed an agreement to sell 36 Embraer 195 jets to a new still unnamed Brazilian airline, managed by businessman David Neeleman. The value of the agreement is US$ 1.4 billion, and it may reach US$ 3 billion if all options and purchase rights are confirmed.

Neeleman also agreed on purchase options for another 20 aircraft and rights for the purchase of another 20. The businessman was born in Brazil and is famous for having established JetBlue airline in the United States.

The new Brazilian airline placed a request for an Airline Company Certificate of Approval at the National Civil Aviation Agency (ANAC) this month and according, to an Embraer press statement, should begin a campaign to promote the company brand in the near future.

"We are indeed proud to have been selected by this new Brazilian airline to bring to the domestic market a fresh, customer-driven alternative for local passengers," stated Embraer CEO Frederico Fleury Curado.

The first aircraft should be delivered by Embraer still this year. "With 30% fewer seats than the aircraft favored by the competition, the EMBRAER 195 offers competitive unit costs and much lower trip costs. Because we can make money with fewer passengers per flight, we can provide non-stop service in more markets than exists today," said Neeleman.

The Embraer 195 should seat 118 passengers in a cabin with 2-meter headspace and two leather seats on each side of the aisle, without seats in the middle. The aircraft will have state-of-the-art entertainment systems, with live video channels and individual screens.

The jet will have autonomy of 4,077 kilometers and may fly any route between two Brazilian capitals. The aircraft is the newest in the Embraer E-Jet family and started operating in September 2006. At the end of last year, the Embraer 170/190 family of jets, which includes airplanes 170, 175, 190 and 195, had 764 firm orders and 786 options.

David Neeleman established JetBlue Airways and was a former president at the company, renowned for low cost and low fares. The businessman has 24 years of experience and prominent performance in the aviation market in the United States.

Embraer is the world leader in the production of commercial jets for up to 120 seats and is one of the largest Brazilian exporters. The company is headquartered in São José dos Campos, in the interior of the southeastern Brazilian state of São Paulo. At the end of last year, the company's firm order backlog was US$ 18.8 billion.

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