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Virgin Blue exercises Purchase Rights on Four Embraer 190 Jets

Travel News Asia Latest Travel News Wednesday, 20 February 2008

Australias Virgin Blue has signed a contract to exercise purchase rights on four Embraer 190 jets and to convert another three into options for the same model. The total value of this new deal, at list price, is US$ 138 million, and could reach US$ 241.5 million, if all options are confirmed.

Virgin Blue currently operates three Embraer 170 jets and will soon receive its first Embraer 190. The firm orders of the Australian airline now total 24 aircraft: six Embraer 170s and 18 Embraer 190s.

We are very pleased with the confidence placed in the E-Jets by Virgin Blue, said Mauro Kern, Embraer Executive Vice President, Airline Market. It is a pleasure to be a part of Virgin Blues growth strategy in the highly competitive and demanding Australian market.

In November 2006, Virgin Blue acquired three Embraer 170s and 11 Embraer 190s. Just a few months later, even before it received its first plane, the company reiterated its confidence in Embraer, through its fleet expansion strategy based on the E-Jets, by confirming three options for the Embraer 170 and three purchase rights for the Embraer 190. Besides the 24 firm orders, the Australian airline also has another six options for the Embraer 190 and ten purchase rights.

Our first three Embraer 170 jets are now in service in Australia, and most recently we introduced the aircraft to the key Sydney-Canberra route linking our major gateway city to the national capital. The aircraft is proving very popular with our guests and team, and is quickly attracting a growing Australian fan base, said Brett Godfrey, Virgin Blue CEO and co-founder.

Virgin Blues Embraer 190 jets, configured with 104 seats, in a single-class layout, will be the first of this model in the world to operate with ETOPS (Extended-range Twin-engine Operations) certification, starting in the first half of 2008. ETOPS certification allows aircraft to safely fly nonstop routes over large uninhabited areas, like oceans and deserts, and is one more example of the high technology of Embraers E-Jets.

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