European regional carrier Widerøe has been named as the launch customer of Embraer’s E190-E2 aircraft.
The airline was due to receive the first E190-E2 in the first half of calendar 2018, Embraer said on Tuesday (Brazil time).
Widerøe, which is headquartered in Norway and has hubs across Scandinavia, has three E190-E2s on firm order an purchase rights for a further 12 E2 family aircraft.
The E190-E2 will the the airline’s first jet aircraft. Its current fleet consists of Bombardier turboprops.
Embraer Commercial Aviation president and chief executive John Slattery said the E2 flight test program was progressing well.
“The E2 program remains on target with technical specification guidance, on time and on budget. Our team remains focused on a successful delivery to Widerøe in the first half of next year,” Slattery said in a statement.
Currently, there were three E190-E2s flying as part of the flight test program, with a fourth in final assembly and expected to make its first flight in the coming weeks.
The E190-E2 is one of three models in the E2 family of jets and can seat between 97 and 114 passengers, depending on configuration.
The E2 improves on the current generation E-jets with new aerodynamically advanced, high-aspect ratio, distinctively shaped wings, improved systems and avionics, including fourth generation full fly-by-wire flight controls.
This was expected to result in double-digit reductions in fuel and maintenance costs compared with the current E-jet family. From an environmental perspective, the new aircraft also produced less emissions and less noise. The aircraft will also have a new interior with larger overhead bins and a new first class concept, among other interior improvements.
The other two E2 models were the E175-E2, which seats 80-90 passengers, and the E195-E2 (120-144 seats).
Wideroe chief executive Stein Nilsen described the E190-E2 as a “big leap” in the airline’s history, with planning for the first delivery well underway.
“We are very proud we will be the first airline in the world to operate the E190-E2. Knowing the hard-work Embraer is doing in the certification campaign, especially in terms of maturity, we have every confidence in a smooth entry into service,” Nilsen said.
The E2 family of aircraft has garnered 283 orders since it was launched at the Paris Airshow in 2013.
The current E-jets are flown by about 70 customers in 50 countries, including Airnorth, Cobham and Virgin Australia in this part of the world.
However, Virgin is in the process of withdrawing all its 18 Embraer E190s as part of cost reduction and fleet simplification efforts to return the airline to profitability.