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Chorus Aviation spreads wings by signing deal to lease jets to Spanish carrier

MONTREAL – Chorus Aviation, which mainly provides Jazz regional air service for Air Canada, is spreading its wings by signing a deal to lease aircraft to Spain’s Air Nostrum.

The Halifax-based company says it will purchase four new 100-seat CRJ1000 regional jets from Bombardier and lease them to the carrier, which operates a fleet of 42 CRJ and ATR turboprops.

The planes with a list price of US$48.8 million will be financed with the help of Export Development Canada and be delivered over the next year.

Chorus CEO Joe Randell says the move is part of the company’s strategy to become less dependent on Canada’s largest carrier.

Air Canada is responsible for about 95 per cent of its revenues from providing regional service and the lease of 39 aircraft as of next year.

By building revenues from leasing, parts and overhaul operations, Randell hopes to improve the market value of Chorus (TSX:CHR) which he says is constrained by its dependency on one partner.