Air Kiribati splurges $243 million on new planes
Embraer has announced the signing of a contract with the Government of Kiribati, in partnership with their national airline, Air Kiribati, for two firm orders for the E190-E2 E-Jets and two purchase rights for the same model. With all purchase rights being exercised, the contract has a value of USD 243 million, based on current list prices. The order will be included in Embraer’s 2018 fourth-quarter backlog.
Scheduled for a 2019 delivery, the E190-E2 will enable the flag carrier for the Republic of Kiribati, located in the central Pacific, to fly longer domestic and international routes than it currently does with its turboprop fleet. Air Kiribati will be the launch operator for the E190-E2 in the Asia Pacific region (excluding China). This order comes after a three-week Asia Pacific tour of the ‘Shark’ livery E190-E2 in October, which included a stop in Tarawa, the capital of Kiribati. Spanning four time zones and comprised of more than 30 islands, Kiribati is the only country in the world to be in all four hemispheres.
“We warmly welcome Air Kiribati to the Embraer family and we will work closely with the airline as they transition to the E190-E2 through our extensive entry-into-service package and world-class support team in the region,” said Cesar Pereira, Asia Pacific Vice President, Embraer Commercial Aviation. “Flying in the Pacific, over large bodies of water, requires outstanding range, performance and ample cargo capacity. Air Kiribati’s selection of the E190-E2 is yet another validation of the world’s most efficient single-aisle jet design, which exceeds these requirements and will enable the airline to enhance its flight frequency and to boost its network.”
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“We were impressed with what we saw when the E190-E2 visited Kiribati in October,” said Hon. Willie Tokataake, Minister for Information, Communication, Transport and Tourism Development of the Kiribati Government. “Given its impressive range, lower fuel consumption and maintenance costs and dual class configuration that brings comfort to our passengers compared to its peers, the E190-E2’s capabilities empower us to enhance connectivity within our country and beyond, taking our nation to its next phase of growth.”
With a maximum range of up to 2,850 nautical miles, the E190-E2 can operate over the vast expanse of Kiribati, including from Tarawa directly to Kiritimati (Christmas) Island, one of the most challenging routes in the Pacific. The current domestic connection from Tarawa to Kiritimati includes an international stopover in Fiji.
The E190-E2 is part of Embraer’s new generation E-Jets E2 family of aircraft, which can seat between 70 to 150 passengers. The E190-E2 specifically, can seat up to 114 passengers, and is the first member of the E-Jets E2 family of aircraft to enter into service in April 2018.
Embraer has been present in the region since the first Bandeirante was delivered in 1978 in Australia and has been providing comprehensive support and services through the years to aircraft based in Australia and in the Pacific region.