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Air Costa To Lease Another Five Embraer Jets

The airline will also phase out the fourth and last 67-seater E-170 plane with 110-seater E190 by this month end

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Regional carrier Air Costa has said it plans to lease another five Embraer jets this fiscal, which will raise its fleet size to nine aircraft by March next year.

The airline expects to improve its operational performance going forward with the induction of new plane both in terms of passenger load factor and yield, a senior airline official said.

The airline will also phase out the fourth and last 67-seater E-170 plane with 110-seater E190 by this month end.

The Vijayawada based airline currently has four Embraer jets in the fleet, with three of them being E-190s and one E-170, with which it operates 32 daily services to nine domestic destinations.

"We are leasing the fourth E 190 by this month end, which will replace our last E170 in the fleet. With this induction we will have an all 110-seater E 190 fleet," an Air Costa official told PTI.

"We are also in talks with our lessors for leasing of five more such planes as we are looking at a fleet size of nine planes in this fiscal to support our pan-India operations plans," the official said adding Air Costa expects to receive national operator's permit from DGCA in the coming months.

National capital Delhi and Bhubaneswar are the two destinations, among others, which the airline has finalised to fly once the regulator's nod come by, he said.

The LEPL group promoted regional air operator had early in January 2014 placed a firm order for 50 jets with Embraer, in a deal valued at USD 2.94 billion under a 20-year fleet- management plan.

Air Costa has options for an additional 50 purchase rights for E190-E2 jets as well.

The delivery of these planes is expected to commence from January 2018.

"With the induction of higher seating capacity planes and proposed pan-India operations, we are expecting both our load factor and revenue earned per ticket to go up significantly this fiscal," the official said without any specifics.

On the issue of a higher rate flight cancellations, primarily in the first two months of this year, the official said that it was due to the phasing out of E170s from the fleet and replace them with E190s.

"Now when the exercise of fleet conversion is nearly completed, the entire schedule should be back to normal," he said.

In February, Air Costa did not operate almost 1/5th of its total services as its flight cancellation rate in that month stood at 19.95 per cent as against an industry average of 0.7 per cent.


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