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20 July 2010, 11:58 | Updated: 20 July 2010, 12:30
Heart's been told budget airline Flybe could introduce flights to more destinations from Kent International Airport.
The company, which already runs a service to Edinburgh and will start flights to Manchester in September, has announced plans to buy up to 140 new 88 seater planes.
The first aircraft will be delivered in September 2011 and talks will start shortly with airports about where the planes could be based and where they would fly to.
The company is expected to spend £3.3billion.
Jim French CBE, Flybe Chairman and Chief Executive said: “Flybe is delighted to announce this significant $1.3 billion order of 35 Embraer 175 aircraft. In doing so, we are securing an aircraft that fits with our stated aim of furthering our position as the leading regional airline in Europe.
“The 175 will allow us to preserve our two fleet strategy and the economic and environmental performance of the aircraft is in line with Flybe’s policy of only buying A and B rated eco-label aircraft as part of its commitment to invest in lower emission new technology aircraft.”
Mr. French continued: “The 175 will give Flybe significant added capacity and is particularly suited to the sector lengths prevalent in Europe that we are most interested in exploiting. In short, it perfectly fits the Flybe business model and we are delighted to be extending our long-running partnership with Embraer.
“We have enjoyed an excellent relationship with Embraer since we became the world’s launch customer for the 195 aircraft. The 195 has been a superb addition to the fleet with outstanding reliability and performance.
“We today also throw down the challenge to the regional airline manufacturers to develop a new form of jet to be available in 2017. We want manufacturers to combine the economic and environmental performance of the turboprop with the positive benefits of jet performance. Such a combination will provide the right technological platform from 2020 onwards.”