Alitalia Express has strengthened its links with the Brazilian company, Embraer, fourth largest manufacturer of commercial aircraft in the world. The most recent acquisition is the Embraer 170 LR which is being presented today (for the first time in Italy) with a demonstration flight from Rome`s “G.B.Pastine” Ciampino airport via Sardinia.
Alitalia Group`s regional airline - which already operates eight Embraer 145s with 48 seats - is moving ahead with its fleet renewal programme, always aiming to improve efficiency and provide better service for customers.
The aircraft chosen by Alitalia Express is a 72-seat twin-jet, with a wingspan of 26 metres and weighing 20.7 tonnes. The fuel capacity is 9,470 litres, giving a range of 3,611 kilometres under full payload. Cruising speed is 870 kph.
One of the strong points of the Embraer 170 LR is the high level of cabin comfort - there is ample space at shoulder level and good leg room for passengers. To make the cabin even more comfortable, there are no middle seats in the rows.
These new aircraft will be used on the Alitalia Express network alongside the present planes in the Company`s fleet for domestic and international routes, with special attention to routes where they are more convenient, either because of the long distances involved, or because of the type of demand (mainly business traffic).
Delivery of the first six Embraer 170 LRs is planned for June 2003, while another six planes are under option for 2004. The first six aircraft will be named after the Roman “consular” roads (Via Appia, Via Cassia, Via Aurelia, Via Emilia, Via Flaminia and Via Salaria); the following six will carry the names of the capitals of the six founder member states of the European Union (Rome, Bonn, Paris, Amsterdam, Brussels and Luxemburg).
Collaboration with Embraer is going to develop further, also in the area of maintenance. The two companies are looking into the possibility of setting up a European centre in Italy, for the maintenance of all the aircraft in the Embraer family.
“The purchase of these Embraer 170 LRs - said Massimo Chieli, managing director of Alitalia Express - forms part of wide-ranging project for renewing and strengthening our fleet, which will grow from 17 to 38 aircraft in two years, equivalent to an increase of 123% by the year 2004. In the two-year period 2002/2003, six Embraer 145 LRs will join the fleet, along with three 66-seat ATR 72s.”