British Airways picks Embraer for fuel-efficiency

British Airways has placed firm orders for a fleet of 11 new-generation regional jet aircraft from Brazilian manufacturer Embraer.

The airline’s wholly owned subsidiary BA CityFlyer is to take delivery of the first of the new aircraft, which will fly exclusively from London City Airport, from September 2009.

Firm orders have been placed for six Embraer 170 and five Embraer 190SR efficiency jets, known as E-jets, with options for three more. The contract value of the firm orders is put at US$376 million, based on current list prices.

The new planes will replace the current fleet of 10 Avro RJ100 and two RJ85 aircraft operated by BA CityFlyer. BA says they will be greener and more fuel-efficient with significantly lower carbon dioxide emissions. This was a key consideration in the order.

The Embraer 190SRs and Embraer 170s will operate on routes from London City Airport to Scotland, Ireland and Europe.

A ‘double-bubble’ fuselage design means there is more personal space for passengers, and four-abreast seating throughout the aircraft will give everyone the choice of either a window or aisle seat.

The E170s will be configured with 76 seats, while the E190SR will seat up to 98 passengers. The E170 already has steep approach certification to operate out of London City Airport, using software developed within the existing fly-by-wire system. The E190SR is currently undergoing engineering evaluation tests with a view to receiving certification by the end of 2009.

Peter Simpson, managing director of BA CityFlyer, said: “We are very excited about this new fleet of fuel efficient aircraft which will not only help us to meet our environmental objectives but also provide more space and comfort for our customers.

“Having the combination of the Embraer 170s and 190SRs in the same fleet will give us greater flexibility, enabling us to match capacity with demand on routes within our existing and future network.”

There is a high degree of commonality between the two aircraft, bringing economies in crew training, spare parts and maintenance costs.

The E170s will be powered by General Electric CF34-8C5 engines and the 190SRs will be powered by CF34-10E5 engines.

Both aircraft are more fuel efficient than the RJ fleet, by 56 per cent for the E170 and the 28 per cent for the 190SR.

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