By Ankit Ajmera
HYDERABAD (Reuters) - Embraer SA is in talks with several major Indian airlines about potential orders of its E-175 regional jet, an executive at the Brazilian jet manufacturer said on Friday.
Indian carriers have traditionally used turboprops rather than jets for regional operations, although the now-defunct Air Costa still has an order for 50 jets valued at about $3 billion on Embraer's books.
Cesar Pereira, Embraer's Vice President for sales and marketing in the Asia Pacific, said his company was talking to Interglobe Aviation Ltd's IndiGo unit, SpiceJet Ltd, national carrier Air India, Jet Airways Ltd and Vistara about buying E-175 jets.
India is the only country among BRIC peers Brazil, Russia and China that does not have a significant fleet of regional jets with a capacity of 70-150 seats, he said on the sidelines of the Wings India airshow.
"That means in the future there will be regional jets, because they are needed," he said. "It's just a matter of time."
Pereira said it might take longer for some orders to materialise, given IndiGo had a large backlog of Airbus SE narrowbodies and ATR turboprops.
"But we have other airlines that could look at orders," he said, citing the potential for Air India to place orders in the future if a privatisation programme is successful.
Air India's regional arm, Alliance Air, which flies ATR turboprops, could be sold separately from the main domestic and international operations, according to local media reports.
(Reporting by Ankit Ajmera, Writing by Jamie Freed; Editing by Shri Navaratnam)