Along a tortuous path, Qantas will become an Embraer customer. Australia’s largest airline has signed a wet lease agreement with Alliance Airlines to operate up to 14 E190 jets on its domestic routes starting in June. In this type of leasing, the aircraft will be operated by Alliance, but the Qantas crews will also carry out some flights while the airline’s international network is suspended.
Initially, Qantas is expected to use three E190 jets on routes such as Adelaide–Alice Springs, Darwin–Alice Springs and Darwin–Adelaide. The agreement lasts for three years and the planes will be under the responsibility of QantasLink, the group’s regional subsidiary.
“The E190 is a perfect mid-size regional jet for routes like these ones in northern Australia. It has longer range than our 717s and it’s about half the size of our 737s, which means the economics work well on longer flights between cities and towns outside of the top five population centers,“said QantasLink CEO John Gissing.
Alliance Airlines’ E190 jets were acquired last year in two negotiations. They were used by American Arlines and Copa Airlines previously and were part of an agreement with Azorra Aviation and Jetran.
Alliance is the largest operator of the Fokker 100 in the world and ended up opting for E-Jets due to the offer of these aircraft on the market. QantasLink has a fleet of eight A320s, 20 Boeing 717s, 17 Fokker 100s and 48 Dash 8 turboprops, which are also operated by wet lease.
As a result, the Alliance’s E190s will receive QantasLink livery by the middle of this year. The Brazilian aircraft will be configured in two classes, with 10 seats in business class 84 seats in economy.