Air Kiribati (IK, Tarawa) is eyeing opportunities for direct flights from the Pacific archipelago to Australia and New Zealand thanks to its incoming E190-E2s, General Manager Danial Rochford told Air Transport World.

The I-Kiribati flag carrier has a firm order with Embraer for two E190-E2s with purchase rights for a further two of the type. The first two aircraft will deliver in December 2019 and in 2020, respectively.

Rochford pointed out that the type's increased range deemed it a "perfect choice" for the carrier.

Air Kiribati does not currently operate any jets given its fleet includes two DHC-6-300s, a single Dash 8-100, and three Y12Fs. According to the ch-aviation schedules module, Air Kiribati's network is almost exclusively domestic with only a single weekly international flight to Funafuti in Tuvalu.

The distance between Kiribati's main gateway Tarawa and the north-eastern coast of Australia, with airports such as Cairns or Brisbane Int'l, is around 2,000 nautical miles (3,700 kilometres), well within the E190-E2 range.