Madagascar Airlines abandons Embraer E2 jet plan amid financial crisis

The African country’s national airline had signed a leasing agreement for three E190-E2s with Azorra almost a year ago. One of the jets was already ready for delivery after being associated with three other carriers

The E190-E2 jet with serial number 19020016 is what you could call an “unlucky” plane. Completed two years ago, the Embraer aircraft should have originally been delivered to Fuzhou Airlines, from which it had a designated registration number.

The agreement did not go through and Embraer then placed the E190-E2 on the delivery list of Air Astana, from Kazakhstan, but again the deal was not completed.

Then came Congo Airways, which had exchanged its order for E175s for E2s. Plane 19020016 received the airline’s livery and even a name, “Etienne Tshisekedi”, a politician from the African country.

But it wasn’t that time that the E190-E2 was delivered as the airline didn’t get off the ground. That’s when Azorra Aviation, a US leasing company, stepped in and negotiated it with another African carrier, Madagascar Airlines.

The state-owned company is a project to establish a flag carrier for the country, replacing Air Madagascar. About a year ago, it announced an agreement to have three E!90-E2 configured with 96 seats in two classes and which would be the basis of the fleet.

Madagascar Airlines E190-E2 rendering (MA)

Jet 19020016, which made its first flight in October 2021, had its fuselage repainted in Madagascar Airlines colors and appeared ready for delivery.

During the visit of the Prime Minister of Vietnam to Embraer in September, the aircraft served as a “set” for Pham Minh Chinh to pose for photos, but with the Madagascar Airlines brands covered.

Financial crisis could lead company to fly with first generation Embraer 190

On November 6, the new airline announced the end of the agreement with Azorra, in the midst of a serious financial crisis.

Its president, Frenchman Thierry de Bailleul, held a press conference on November 6 in which he confirmed that the airline had lost around US$36 million in the last 18 months.

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The carrier operates on a provisional basis, using a single ATR 72-600 turboprop still in the colors of its predecessor. Long-distance flights have been carried out through wet-leasing contracts, with the provision of the aircraft, crew, maintenance and insurance.

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According to local media, Bailleul is studying the possibility of replacing the E190-E2, with which he expressed concern due to problems with the Pratt & Whitney PW1900G engines, with the first generation E190, equipped with GE CF34 turbofans.

Meanwhile, the “unlucky” E190-E2 returned to the hangar, waiting for a new interested party.


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