Airlink becomes one of the largest operators of Embraer jets in the world

AirLink already has 56 Brazilian aircraft in its fleet and will receive two more first-generation E195s on lease with AerCap

The South African regional carrier AirLink has taken advantage of the collapse of South African Airways (SAA) to expand its flight network in the country and for that it has counted on the help of Embraer jets.

Founded in 1992, AirLink acted as a partner of South Africa’s flag carrier until 2020, using a similar livery on its planes.

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Since then, the regional airline has distanced itself from SAA in search of its own identity as South Africa’s most famous carrier struggled financially.

The result is that Airlink currently has a large fleet of 61 aircraft, 56 of which are jets supplied by the Brazilian planemaker.

Airlink E190

And more Embraer aircraft are on the way. Lessor AerCap unveiled a new lease agreement for three second-hand E195s, one of which has been in service since April.

Two more jets will be delivered in July, bringing the E-Jets fleet to 31 aircraft. In all, there will be six E195s, 22 E190s and three E170s.

In addition, AirLink operates 27 ERJ jets, 16 ERJ135 and 11 ERJ140 aircraft that previously flew on American Airlines’ regional network.

South African’s carrier Airlink also uses the ERJ 140

Agreement with LATAM

The expansion of Embraer’s E-Jets fleet began to gain momentum in 2021 when five E190s were received. Last year, AirLink added another eight aircraft to the family, including the first three E195s, transferred from Belavia by Nordic Aviation Capital.

The growth of its flight network drew the attention of foreign airlines. In May, LATAM Airlines signed an interline agreement with AirLink to allow connections from Johannesburg to 40 destinations operated by the South African regional airline.


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