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July 31, 2012

Conviasa Orders 20 New Embraer 190 Jets, Hints at US Flights

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A new Conviasa Bombardier CRJ-700 delivery flight enroute to Caracas from Fort Lauderdale. (Photo by Mark Lawrence)

Venezuelan national airline Conviasa has placed an order for six new Embraer 190 aircraft, with an option to buy as many as 14 additional jets.

The initial batch of aircraft is worth $271.2 million based on current list prices. Total value could reach $904 million if all 20 planes are purchased.

The Embraer deal was first mentioned by Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez this past January, at the same time that he announced the purchase of four Airbus A340-500 widebody airliners from Etihad. He noted that US trade restrictions against Venezuela had previously prevented an Embraer purchase due to their use of GE engines and Honeywell avionics, but that these laws had since been loosened.

Conviasa is Venezuela’s largest airline and the nation’s flag carrier. According to airfleet.net data, Conviasa’s fleet currently consists of about 17 aircraft, ranging from an Airbus A340-200 to ATRs to Boeing 737 Classics to Bombardier CRJ-700s.

Each new E-190 will be fitted with 104 seats in a single-class configuration. Conviasa said the first six planes will be delivered by the end of this year.

In addition to the planes, Conviasa will snag a simulator in the deal, as well as a five year “logistics package,” the airline said.

US Service?

Conviasa noted that in addition to having the range to reach nearly every country in Central and South America and the Caribbean, the new planes could also reach the United States, including “all the West Coast to New York.” The airline currently serves 14 domestic and nine international destinations, but operates no US routes.

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