Congo Airways converted a purchase option into a firm order for two E195-E2 jets, Embraer announced on Wednesday. The African carrier now has a firm order for four aircraft of the new E2 family, two of which are model E190-E2. The agreement has a value of $272 million and will be included in Embraer’s order book in the fourth quarter of 2020, whose data will still be released by the company. Deliveries will begin in 2022.

“We see an opportunity in our market and the crisis we are all facing for Congo Airways to emerge stronger – which is why we are not waiting to place this further order. These new jets will allow us to extend our passenger and cargo operations regionally to high demand destinations such as Cape Town, Johannesburg, and Abidjan. As we prepare for future success, we will have the flexibility, and the right sized, most efficient aircraft, to serve our customers as the market returns,” said Desire Bantu, CEO of Congo Airways.

“Africa has for too long been thought of as a market of mostly low frequencies and long thin routes. As airlines start ramp up their operations, the E2 family of aircraft is perfectly positioned to right size routes previously operated by narrowbodies, while keeping frequencies and adjusting capacity to new levels,” said Cesar Pereira, vice president of Europe, Middle East and Africa, Embraer Commercial Aviation.

Congo Airways’ E195-E2s will be configured in two classes, with 12 business and 108 economy seats, 24 more than the capacity of the E190-E2 orderded last year. Congo Airways originally ordered the first generation E175, but decided to switch to the new E2 family in its larger capacity variants. According to Embraer, there are 206 company aircraft operating on the African continent, on 56 airlines and 29 countries.

Congo Airways’ E190-E2 (Embraer)