Flag carrier Congo Airways has amended its firm order made in December last year.

As part of this amendment, the carrier converts the order for two E175 aircraft to two E190-E2 jets, with purchase rights for two more.

Valued at $256m under current list prices with all purchase rights exercised, the new deal will be included in Embraer’s second-quarter backlog.

Congo Airways CEO Desire Bantu said: “These new jets will be replacing our legacy turboprops and will allow us to extend our operations within the Democratic Republic of Congo, and regionally to west, central, and southern Africa.

“Despite the current difficult circumstances, the fundamentals of our market have not changed; so we expect the momentum we’ve seen in the past to redevelop.

“I said in December that we may need to make an additional order for E2s due to the agility required to adapt to market changes – we have now reached that point.

“As we prepare for future success, we will have the flexibility, and the right-sized, most efficient aircraft, to serve our customers as the market returns.”

The two E190-E2 aircraft will come with a dual-class configuration, offering a total seating capacity of 96 passengers with 12 staggered business class seats.

Around 189 Embraer aircraft operate in Africa with 54 airlines in 27 countries.

Congo Airways orders are expected to be delivered starting in the second quarter of 2022.