KLM Cityhopper announced on 30 March 2015 the purchase of 17 new Embraer E-Jets to replace its Fokker 70 aircraft. The deal is for 15 E175s and two E190s. The latter will arrive in December 2015, while the E175s are expected between March 2016 and June 2018.
With the purchase the end is in sight for a historical Dutch product flown by a major Dutch operator. The Fokker 70’s first flight was on 4 April 1993 at its location of Woensdracht in the Netherlands. The aircraft is a derivative of the Fokker 28 and that’s why the type is officially registered as F28-0070. KLM received the Fokker 70s from the successors of the original manufacturer, as the company started by Anthony Fokker in 1919 in the Netherlands went bankrupt mainly due to bad management in 1996. The first KLM Cityhopper Fokker 70 was delivered in on 22 January 1997, the last on 25 March 2000.
Between 1992 and 1997 only 47 Fokker 70s were produced. KLM Cityhopper has been the biggest operator of the type. A Fokker 70 serves as the government flight of the Netherlands, while the Kenyan Air Force flies one for its president. The other operators are Tyrolean Airways / Austrian Airlines (6), Insel Air (3) and Alliance Airlines (8) in Australia. Fokker Services – one of the successors of Fokker – owns one Fokker 70. The rest of the Fokker 70s are mostly flying in VIP configuration as a luxury company business jet.
The Fokker 70 is powered by two Rolls-Royce Tay 620 turbofans. It has a cruising speed of 456 knots (525 mph or 845 kmh), a range of 2,119 miles (3,410 km) and a service ceiling of 36,000 feet. The only known incident was with an Austrian Airlines jet on 5 January 2004, when it crash-landed on Munich IAP in Germany after ice built up in the engines upon descent. Luckily the crash resulted in no serious injuries to any of the 28 passengers and four crew, with almost all escaped shaken but unharmed.
The introduction of the Embraer E175 and the retirement of the Fokker 70 will be done gradually. KLM Cityhopper together with partner Air France regional daughter Hop! also signed an option for another 17 Embraer E-Jets.
With the arrival of the new aircraft KLM Cityhopper is able to transport 100 passengers on the E190s and 88 on the E175, against 80 on the Fokker 70. The E175 has a slightly shorter range than the Fokker 70: 1,800 miles (3,334 km) with a typical cruising speed of 447 knots (515 mph or 828 kmh). It has a service ceiling of 41,000 feet. Embraer aircraft are not a new sight for KLM Cityhopper. The Dutch daughter of the oldest still existing airline (KLM) flies 28 Embraer E190s.
KLM Cityhopper’s current 47 aircraft make about 300 flights a day, all within Europe, to 54 destinations. Business travellers are the core of the 18,000 passengers that fly daily with the company.
© 2015 Airheadsfly.com editor Marcel Burger