In the Middle East, where carriers typically have not shown interest in aircraft with fewer than 70 seats, ECC has “suddenly seen some breakthroughs,” Dunnachie adds. He cites UAE’s Rotana Jet taking delivery of three ERJ-145s, one of which came from ECC, as an indication of growing demand.
“A market typically not associated with 50-seater jets is starting to open,” he says.
Oil, gas and mining companies also are interested in smaller regional jets for transporting personnel. In one recent deal, an Australian mining company took an ERJ-135 to transport personnel from Johannesburg to Malawi and Namibia, and negotiations with other companies are under way, Dunnachie says.
However, there are signs of distress in placing used Embraer regional jets: 33 former Mesa Air Group ERJ-145s have sat in storage for two years, and 10 of those were just acquired by Aerovision International, which is considering whether to part out some of the aircraft, even though the oldest of them was built in 2000.
ECC says it currently has 18 ERJ-135s—about one-third under contract and one-third in negotiation—and about a half dozen ERJ-145s. Worldwide, there are 49 ERJ-145s and 44 ERJ-135s in storage, the AWIN fleets databases show.