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Hainan Airlines halves Embraer ERJ-145 plane order to 25

  China's Hainan Airlines Group (HNA) confirmed Friday that it had halved its order of ERJ-145 jets from the Harbin Embraer Aircraft Industry Company to 25 planes.

  Zheng Yang, who is responsible for HNA Grand China Express, attributed the cut to shringking demand caused by the global economic downturn.

  Zheng told Xinhua that Harbin Embraer had agreed to the order change.

  Harbin Embraer is a Sino-Brazilian joint venture among Empresa Brasileira de Aeronautica SA (Embraer), Harbin Aircraft Industry Group Co and Hafei Aviation Industry Co.

  The joint venture had delivered 12 jets to HNA as of April 30. It would deliver the rest by 2011, according to Zheng.

  Haikou-based HNA is China's fourth-largest carrier and first Sino-foreign joint venture airline, with international financier George Soros being one of its leading shareholders. Grand China Air, or Grand China Express, headquartered in Tianjin, was launched March 30, 2007.

  HNA signed a contract in August 2006 to buy the 50 ERJ145 planes from the joint venture and 50 E190 jets directly from Embraer. All the planes will be operated by Grand China Express.

  The E190 order will be unchanged, Zheng said, adding that 10 E190 jets had been delivered to HNA.

  The ERJ145 aircraft is a new-generation of turbo fan regional jet with 50 passenger seats. More than 1,000 have been sold globally, mostly in the United States and Europe.

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