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Northwest to order 72 jets, split between Embraer and Bombardier

Northwest to order 72 jets, split between Embraer and Bombardier

Northwest Airlines Corp. on Thursday asked a bankruptcy judge for permission to buy 72 new jets for serving small and midsize markets.
The order will be split between 36 Embraer 175 aircraft and 36 Bombardier CRJ900 aircraft. Northwest said it had options for another 96 Bombardiers and an additional 136 Embraers.
The order was widely expected as Northwest has been looking to revamp the regional flying currently handled by Mesaba Aviation Inc. and Pinnacle Airlines Corp. Northwest is also seeking approval to start its own regional subsidiary, called Compass Airlines.
Northwest said Compass would fly 36 Embraers. It said a partner to be determined later will operate the 36 Bombardiers.
Pinnacle spokesman Phil Reed said it would compete to get the 36 Bombardiers, as well as 15 other regional jets that Northwest took away after it filed for bankruptcy protection. But he said Northwest has made it clear it won't award new jets until Pinnacle negotiates a new deal with its pilots. No new talks are scheduled.
Mesaba has also said new jets depend on winning a new contract with pilots, flight attendants and mechanics.
A new contract negotiated with mainline Northwest pilots allows regional carriers to fly jets with up to 76 seats, a size range that includes both the Embraer and Bombardier planes.
Northwest said Embraer would finance all 36 jets, including seven while Northwest is still operating under bankruptcy protection. Northwest said it expects to take its first deliveries of both aircraft in the second quarter of 2007. The values of the orders were not disclosed.
Northwest said the new jets will use less fuel and be cheaper to maintain than its current jets.
"This is one of the larger regional jet orders you'll see this year," said aerospace analyst Richard Aboulafia of the Teal Group.
Older airlines such as Northwest used smaller jets _ often with about 50 seats _ in the late 1990s and early 2000s, but they proved uneconomical, he said. Jets like the ones Northwest is buying are more economical because they spread similar costs among more passengers.


Updated : 2021-06-16 16:59 GMT+08:00