Airlink (South Africa) (4Z, Johannesburg O.R. Tambo) has acquired three E170s and two E190s, from ECC Leasing, a wholly-owned unit of Embraer (EMB, Sao Jose dos Campos). As previously reported, the first of the aircraft, EMB-190 N177HQ (msn 19000481), is due for delivery during the first half of this year.

"This is the beginning of the implementation of a well-planned growth and modernization strategy for Airlink that includes replacing our current fleet of ARJ-85s over the next three years," Rodger Foster, CEO of Airlink, said in a communique. "The strategy calls for a total of 13 E-Jets, and we are in the process of sourcing the balance of the fleet requirement – an additional eight E190s – from the market."

The South African regional operator also alluded to using the type on flights to the remote South Atlantic island of St. Helena where a second tender for scheduled services has been floated.

"The E190's ETOPS (Extended Twin Engine Operations) capability and range presents Airlink with new market opportunities to address isolated destinations that were previously beyond our reach and in some instances that have never enjoyed the privilege of reliable scheduled air services," Foster added.

Airlink currently operates twelve ARJ-85s, eight Jetstream 41s, seventeen E135s, two E140s, and two E145s.