London: British airline Flybe has struck a deal with Brazilian planemaker Embraer to buy 35 aircraft worth $1.3 billion, as it drives expansion in continental Europe.
The order, which comprises 35 firm initial orders of the Embraer E series aircraft for $1.3 billion with options for 65 more and purchase rights for a further 40, has a potential total value of $5 billion.
Flybe chairman and chief executive Jim French said he was confident of growth, despite challenges earlier year this from the ash cloud and nervous consumer sentiment.
“We have grown by about 20% compound (in the past), we see anything up to 10% going forward,” he said.
He said the group was confident of its business model which focuses on domestic flights from smaller regional airports, after maintaining a profit through the recession.
Aircraft manufacturers such as Airbus and Boeing are grappling with lower orders due to the recession and coming off the strongest cycle in history.
But the industry was given a lift at Farnborough Airshow on Monday as aircraft leasing firms placed total orders worth near $20 billion.
Flybe currently operates a fleet of 72 airplanes.