MONTEVIDEO, Uruguay, April 25 (UPI) -- Uruguay flag carrier Pluna is sticking to Bombardier Aerospace jets for an extension of its fleet and will buy another three of the manufacturer's CRJ900 NextGen aircraft.
The Bombardier regional passenger transport plane is one of the best selling aircraft in that category of short-haul air transport.
The company said that its deal with Pluna Lineas Aereas Uruguayas S.A. will add three aircraft to an existing fleet of 10 CRJ900 NextGen aircraft, the only aircraft type in its fleet. Pluna serves destinations mainly in Argentina, Brazil, Chile and Paraguay.
Latin America has seen competition in regional aircraft manufacturing and sales intensify in recent years with Brazil's Embraer dominating the field with a range of aircraft that are cheaper than those produced by most North American and European manufacturers.
This month Brazil and Argentina agreed on a plan that will allow Argentina's aircraft industry to modernize its manufacturing and assembly capacity and compete internationally alongside Embraer.
Bombardier still enjoys a lead a lead in the regional aircraft category because of its low operating costs, among other features.
Bombardier said that based on the list price of the CRJ900 NextGen airliner, the new order from Pluna would be worth about $129 million. The airline's main hub is at Carrasco International Airport, near Montevideo.
"The Bombardier CRJ900 NextGen aircraft has allowed us to increase frequencies and expand to new markets," Pluna Chief Executive Officer Matias Campiani said. "The aircraft offers a combination of low operating costs, exceptional passenger comfort and proven high reliability."
Bombardier Commercial Aircraft President Gary R. Scott said the new order would augment Bombardier's presence in South America with the "industry-leading family of CRJ regional jets" in the lead for the manufacturer's marketing drive.
The order increases firm orders for CRJ900 and CRJ900 NextGen airliners to 265 aircraft, with 244 of those delivered as of Jan. 31. A total of 1,708 CRJ Series aircraft have been ordered worldwide, with 1,628 delivered by the end of January.
First introduced to airline passengers in November 1992, Bombardier's CRJ jetliner is reputed to have become the best-selling regional aircraft program in history. The CRJ jetliner family includes the original 50-seat CRJ100/200, 70-seat CRJ700, 75-seat CRJ705, 88-seat CRJ900 and the new 100-seat CRJ1000 aircraft.
The current-production 70-, 88- and 100-seat aircraft are all "NextGen" models.
More than 60 airlines use the Bombardier as part of the aircraft fleet for their services.
Bombardier Inc. reported revenues of $17.7 billion for the year ended Jan. 31.
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