Airnorth introduces its second E170 Jet

After a wait of more than 14 months, Airnorth, Northern Australia's Regional Airline, saw the arrival into Darwin of its next E170 Jet, which was delivered in mid April new from the Embraer factory in San Jose De Campos, Brazil.

Mr Michael Bridge, Chief Executive of Airnorth said: "It's a very exciting time for Airnorth and shows our continued confidence in, and commitment to, both our customers and our region of the world. We have managed to maintain our expansion plans in both a profitable and sustainable manner. This new aircraft will assist us to meet our expansion plans with additional frequencies for existing services and the introduction of new destinations both domestically and internationally from our home base in Darwin".

Mr Bridge added: "It is unfortunate that the Australian dollar has depreciated since we ordered the aircraft in early 2008, causing the Australian dollar value of the aircraft to increase significantly, however with favourable lease terms, given the world economic crisis, we are very happy with the final cost of the aircraft. Contrary to other airlines, Airnorth's growth is funded primarily through its own strong cash flows and not from funding from outside its aviation activities."

Mr Bridge also said: "This may mean that we cannot expand as quickly as other airlines around Australia, nor will we ever be the largest airline in Australia, but it does mean that it allows us to remain both profitable and sustainable in these uncertain economic times and that's what our customers and the communities we service really need. That is why we are now Australia's second longest (only to Qantas) continually operating airline brand."

Airnorth became the lead customer for this long range variant of the El70 Jet which allows 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 mainland city as well as Jakarta, Singapore, Kuala Lumpur, Manila, Kota Kinabalu and many other destinations to our near north" Mr Bridge said.

The new El70 has entered commercial service with Airnorth on 18April with its first service to Kununurra and Broome and will enable Airnorth to increase its Kimberley (Kununurra, Broome and onto Perth) services to 56 per week and its Timor-Leste (Dili) services to daily in the new jet. Airnorth expect to announce its other expansion plans in the coming months.

For further information contact:
Ms Marie-Claire Cull, Marketing Manager on phone: (08) 8920 4075

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Airnorth now flies more than the Northern Territory's entire population each year; some 250,000 passengers.  Based in Darwin, the company operates regular scheduled flights throughout the Northern Territory, Western Australia and internationally to Timor-Leste. In addition to its scheduled airline services, Airnorth operates air 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 El70 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, and Dili, Timor-Leste.

Embraer's regional jets are a new-generation aircraft that have been engineered from the ground up and are designed specifically to serve markets that can be optimised with 70 to 118 seat capacity equipment. The E-Jets (E170/E175/E190/E195) are built in Brazil and are now successfully operating throughout the world with more than 900 orders. The Embraer El70 range boasts superior cabin spaciousness, generous underfloor 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.

In 2007, Jetscape 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.