Tiny Air Kiribati is to significantly grow its fleet with the acquisition of two Embraer E190-E2 jets, for delivery in 2019.
Embraer announced on Wednesday the Government of Kiribati has signed a contract for two E2s with purchase rights on an additional two aircraft. If the two purchase rights are exercised, the deal would be worth US$243 million at list prices.
The orders follows a visit by Embraer’s E2 demonstrator to the Kiribati capital of Tarawa in October during a three-week Asia Pacific sales tour.
“We were impressed with what we saw when the E190-E2 visited Kiribati in October,” said Willie Tokataake, Kiribati’s Minister for Information, Communication, Transport and Tourism Development.
“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.”
Announcing our newest E2 customer – Air Kiribati! The airline has ordered 2 #E190E2 that start flying across its vast Central Pacific network next year: https://t.co/PmTLftfAyI #E2ProfitHunter pic.twitter.com/vZZPYqYJ9U
— John S. Slattery (@Johnslattery100) December 19, 2018
The order is a significant acquisition for the central Pacific island nation, which has a population of 110,000 people, comprises 33 coral islands which extend 3,900km from east to west, and spans 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.”
The current Air Kiribati fleet comprises one Dash 8-100, one DHC-6 Twin Otter and three Harbin Y12 turboprops.
The E2’s 2,850nm range means the airline will be able to operate nonstop flights between Tarawa and Kiritimati (Christmas) Island, a domestic flight which currently requires an international stopover in Fiji.