Swiss regional airline Helvetic Airways has taken delivery of its first of four E195-E2s today. Taking possession at a virtual handover ceremony at Embraer’s headquarters in Saõ José dos Campos, the aircraft will now make a multi-stop hop across the Atlantic to arrive in Zurich on Friday.
Helvetic takes its first E195-E2
The day has finally arrived! Helvetic Airways has today taken delivery of its fabulous new Embraer E195-E2 jet. But don’t go looking for it in Zurich just yet, because although the official handover has taken place, the aircraft is not due to arrive in its home base until Friday, June 25th.
The aircraft is registered HB-AZI and is the first E195-E2 for Helvetic. In total, four will arrive at the Swiss airline, all by the end of July. Helvetic previously indicated that the largest of the E2s would land in increments of approximately one every two weeks; that now seems to be accelerated with all four arriving in the next five weeks.
The handover of the aircraft took place in Saõ José dos Campos, at the Embraer headquarters. Due to the current COVID situation, the event was conducted virtually, but that didn’t stop the celebrations from continuing. Tobias Pogorevc, CEO of Helvetic Airways, commented,
“With the delivery of the first of our four new Embraer E195-E2s, our fleet renewal is on plan to be completed by the end of July. The structural changes in the demand for air travel that have emerged in recent months vindicate the strategic choices we made back in 2018.
“With Embraer we have both the right types of aircraft and the right industry partner. Helvetic Airways now operates an optimal fleet mix in terms of capacity and sustainability. And as one of the leading E-Jet E2 operators in the world, Helvetic Airways will now be able to further strengthen its role as a Swiss airline in the European sky.”
Helvetic’s newest E2 will be making a multi-stop hop from Brazil to Switzerland, starting tomorrow. From Saõ José dos Campos, the aircraft will stop in Natal and Las Palmas before arriving at Zurich. The airline states that delivery will cover around 9,900 kilometers (6,152 miles) and that the aircraft will spend around 11.5 hours in flight.
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Helvetic’s ambitious fleet renewal
Helvetic began its fleet transformation in 2018 when it firmed up its order with Embraer for 12 E190-E2 jets. At the time of the order, three were to be delivered in 2019, four in 2020 and five this year. These aircraft would completely replace the last of the Fokker F100s flying for the airline, as well as some of its older E190s.
The first arrived in October 2019, and in July 2020, Helvetic had the honor of taking delivery of Embraer’s 1,600th E-jet. Embraer and Helvetic worked together to make the delivery flight a special one, with the aircraft setting the record for the fastest transatlantic flight between South America and Europe.
Just weeks after receiving this special aircraft, Helvetic announced its intentions to up gauge some of its remaining order to the larger E195-E2. The airline completed deliveries of its E190-E2s in March this year, and is now ready to welcome the first of the four largest variants to its fleet.
Helvetic is a key customer for Embraer in Europe, not only thanks to its large fleet of E2 jets. It is also unique in that it is one of only a handful of airlines operating both the original E-jet and the new E2s side by side. This has given the airline a strong position from which to compare the performance of both. Helvetic told Simple Flying that the improvements in performance from the old to the new variant have been much better than expected.
Arjan Meijer, President & CEO of Embraer Commercial Aviation, commented on today’s handover of the first E195-E2 for Helvetic, saying,
“With the new E195-E2, Helvetic Airways is building further on its reputation as one of the most environmentally committed airlines in Europe. Not only does this aircraft consume 25% less fuel than its predecessor: its noise footprint is also 65 per cent smaller. So it’s great news for airport region communities.”
Helvetic believes that with its fleet of four E190-E1s, eight E190-E2s and soon four E195-E2s, it is well set up for the post-pandemic environment. The airline says that this mix of aircraft is perfectly right-sized for operations in Switzerland and into Europe, and for a greener future ahead.