July 15 (Reuters) - Brazilian airline Azul Linhas Aereas agreed to be the launch customer for Embraer’s biggest commercial jet ever, the E-195, in a deal unveiled on Tuesday, underscoring strong demand for the planemaker’s revamped E-Jet lineup.
Embraer SA and Azul signed a letter of intent for 30 firm orders for the next-generation E-195 and options for an additional 20 planes, worth about $3.1 billion at list prices.
The deal should be finalized by December, according to the planemaker, which also announced deals with three other airlines at the Farnborough International Airshow in England.
The new E-195 will add three rows for a total of up to 132 seats, along with new wings, upgraded avionics and geared turbo fans made by United Technologies Corp’s Pratt & Whitney unit for projected per-seat fuel savings of 23 percent. Azul will take the first deliveries in 2019.
Embraer has consolidated its dominance in the regional jet market at the air show, booking orders for its existing and re-engined E-Jets in the 70- to 130-seat segment while longtime rival Bombardier Inc focuses on its larger CSeries.
Japan’s Fuji Dream Airlines signed a firm order for three E-175s, with options for three more planes, and Azerbaijan Airlines ordered two E-190s. The deals for the current E-Jets, together worth up to $354 million at list prices, had been booked as undisclosed customers in Embraer’s second-quarter order backlog.
Moroccan national carrier Royal Air Maroc also said it plans to add four E-190s to its fleet through a leasing agreement with Ireland’s Aldus Aviation.
After Embraer failed to announce any major deals for its current-generation E-Jets, its shares fell nearly 2 percent in Sao Paulo trading, giving up most of a Monday surge that sparked an all-time high.
Embraer is working to shore up short-term demand to maintain E-Jet production as it overhauls the lineup with more fuel-efficient aircraft to enter service in four to six years. (Reporting by Brad Haynes; Editing by Jeffrey Benkoe)