Airnorth acquires its second E170 jet

Airnorth invests another $32M with the acquisition of its second E170 regional Jet

Airnorth, Northern Australia's largest regional airline, will take delivery of its next Embraer E170 Regional Jet within twelve months.

"Today Airnorth has invested a further $32M into the future of regional aviation across the top end of Australia and into neighbouring international ports. This brings the total investment in our Jet acquisition program to more than $70M to date, with more to come in the next few years" Airnorth's Chief Executive Officer, Michael Bridge said today.

The yet to be named brand-new aircraft will be delivered in April 2009 direct from the Embraer factory in Brazil. It will be the very first Embraer E170-AR (Advanced Range) aircraft operating anywhere in the world.

Airnorth will become the lead customer for this variant of the E170 which will allow the airline to carry a full payload (76 passengers, full baggage and freight) more than four hours flying in any direction. "This will see us capable of operating services direct, and fully loaded, to every Australian capital city as well as Jakarta, Singapore, Kuala Lumpur, Manila and many other destinations to our near north" Mr Bridge went on to say.

Airnorth wase able to secure the E170-AR aircraft through a lease/purchase contract with Jetscape, a pre-eminent commercial aircraft leasing, management and re-marketing company based in Fort Lauderdale, Florida. This represents another significant investment for Capiteq Limited, Airnorth's parent company, and another great achievement for the Northern Territory-based organisation.

Airnorth's Deputy Chief Executive Officer, Simone Saunders said "The customer response to the first aircraft, in every single market where we have operated, has been overwhelming. The first aircraft has now operated over 2,200 flights since it was commissioned last August with only two delayed services of its own doing. It demonstrates how technologically advanced these new aircraft are and it vindicates our decision to invest so heavily in staff training over the last two years". "We intend to continue expaning services into the communities that Airnorth currently service and plan to work with our industry partner Qantas, to assess new opportunities. Many of our major contracted clients are also keen to get access to the aircraft, cementing our Board's vision of operating four such aircraft by mid 2010".

Embraer's regional jets are a new-generation aircraft that have been engineered from the ground up and are designed specifically to serve markets with 70 to 118 seat capacity equipment. The E-Jet's (E170/E175/E190/E195) are built in Brazil and are now successfully operating throughout the world with more than 900 orders. The Embraer E170 range boasts superior cabin spaciousness, generous under-floor cargo capacity, state-of-the-art avionics, fly-by-wire technology and uncompromising performance, all of which are so important in the Top End's harsh conditions.

Airnorth celebrates its 30th Birthday in July 2008. Airnorth is the major regional aviation operator in Northern Australia. Airnorth now flies more than the Northern Territory's entire population each year; some 250,000 passengers. Headquartered in Darwin, the company operates regular scheduled flights throughout the Northern Territory, Western Australia and internationally to Timor-Leste and Indonesia. In addition to its scheduled airline services Airnorth operates charter services for some of the world's leading mining and offshore companies including Xstrata, Newmont, BHP Billiton, Alcan, Rio Tinto, ConocoPhillips and Woodside as well as a number of Commonwealth Government agencies. In 2007, Airnorth took delivery of its first E170 Embraer jet and continues to operate a fleet of 19 and 30-seat turbo-prop aircraft. The first E170 aircraft currently services Kununurra, Broome, Perth, McArthur River, Dili and Denpasar, Indonesia.

Jetscape recently placed an order with Embraer for up to 30 aircraft, making it the first independent leasing company in the world to purchase E-jets. Jetscape's proven experience in commercial aircraft leasing is a significant validation of the E-jet product line.

For further information, contact: Simone Saunders, Deputy Chief Executive Officer on phone [08] 8920 4041