In a seminar held in Portugal this week, Embraer’s vice president for Africa and the Middle East markets revealed that the planemaker is talking to the airline TAAG to make it possible to sell six E195-E2 jets, the largest version of the new family of commercial aircraft.
Speaking to the Portuguese press, Raul Villaron stated that Embraer “is interested in working with the Angolan airline, TAAG, which has some aircraft that are close to replacement age and we have the E195-E2, which we call ‘Profit Hunter’, which we believe is ideal for replacing these airplanes.”
The deal would be supported by BNDES, the Brazilian development bank that would finance the acquisition, estimated at $ 250 million. To convince the Angolan airline, Embraer took the prototype E195-E2 to the country two weeks ago where a demonstration was held to its executives and also to government officials.
Despite the interest, Villaron has defined the talks as initials for now, but Embraer is ready to present a formal proposal. The manufacturer currently has about 200 aircraft sold to 25 customers on the African continent. In recent months, the Brazilian company has sought an approach to this market that is one of the fastest growing in the world today.
Banned from Europe
TAAG is one of Africa’s oldest airlines, having emerged as an Angolan government air transport division in the late 1930s. Only in the 1970s was it renamed the current acronym for Transportes Aereos de Angola and started domestic commercial services supported by a partnership between TAP and the government of the country. In 1975, with the independence of the country (which was a colony of Portugal), TAAG flew to Lisbon and other destinations in Europe.
The company, which once operated widebodies such as the L-1011 Tristar and the Boeing 747, began flying to Brazil initially to Rio de Janeiro, adding a stopover in Sao Paulo later. In the 2000s, TAAG promoted a modernization in its fleet to acquire Boeing aircraft. Today it flies with five Boeing 737-700s on its domestic routes and eight 777s of the 200 and 300 versions that perform international flights.
Over the past decade, TAAG has been in an awkward situation. In 2007, the company was banned by the European Union from flying on the continent due to concerns about its safety. It was during this time that the company needed to lease newer aircraft to maintain some frequencies. Two years later, TAAG obtained authorization to operate in Portugal, but for a long time it was prevented from flying over certain regions. There are currently no restrictions in Europe, although the Angolan airline only targets Lisbon and Porto. In the American continent, besides Sao Paulo, TAAG only flies to Havana, Cuba, a country that has many immigrants working in Angola.