(Adds details of orders, Mali contract, share performance)
PARIS, June 15 (Reuters) - Brazil’s Embraer SA on Monday announced 50 firm orders at the Paris air show for regional jets worth a total of $2.6 billion, including deliveries in China starting this year.
The orders, which included dozens of options for more jets, came from the United Airlines division of United Continental Holdings unit, U.S. regional operator SkyWest, Chinese airline Colorful Guizhou and leasing company Aircastle .
Deliveries will begin this year for seven E190s to Colorful Guizhou, the fifth airline flying Embraer’s E-Jets in China.
The jets available for short-term delivery highlight the challenge of filling Embraer’s backlog, especially for the larger E190 seating up to 114 passengers, before re-engined models begin entering service in 2018.
Embraer’s first-quarter earnings suffered as the company had no deliveries of E190 aircraft, which Chief Executive Frederico Curado once called Embraer’s “flagship” model.
Embraer continued to book significant demand at the show for its upcoming generation of more fuel-efficient planes, known as E2. Aircastle, which acquires commercial jets to lease and resell to airlines, ordered 15 E190-E2s and 10 E195-E2s for delivery starting in 2018, with an option for 25 more.
Aside from E2 sales, demand for E-Jets has been heavily concentrated on U.S. airlines upgrading their regional fleets from 50-seat jets to E175 aircraft seating about 75 passengers.
United Airlines ordered 10 more E175s for delivery starting next year, Embraer said, adding that it expected United or one of the other carriers operating flights for United Express soon to convert options for an additional 18 aircraft to firm orders.
Embraer also signed a deal for eight more E175s for SkyWest, which is flying the planes under an agreement with Alaska Airlines. No delivery date was given.
Shares of Embraer rose about 1 percent in Sao Paulo, gaining for the fourth straight session.
The planemaker is in talks with Brazil’s Gol Linhas Aereas and Chile-based LATAM Airlines Group for about 20 E195 aircraft each, people familiar with the matter told Reuters. Embraer declined to comment.
Embraer also signed a deal at the show with Mali for six Super Tucano light attack aircraft, to be used for border surveillance, internal security and training. (Reporting by Sarah Young; Writing by Brad Haynes in Sao Paulo; Editing by James Regan and Dan Grebler)