Analysis: orders from Royal Jordanian and SalamAir show that Embraer can beat Airbus

E2 family has suffered from competition from the A220 (formerly C Series), but recent agreement announcements encourage Brazilian manufacturer to compete for more orders

Embraer has secured two new orders for its family of E2 commercial jets that, if not impressive by the numbers, mean a lot for having outperformed its tough competitor, Airbus.

Since taking over Bombardier’s C Series jets in 2017, the European manufacturer has promoted the A220 (its new name) within its aggressive sales strategy, which includes the successful A320neo family.

The “package” has achieved important victories as in the case of Qantas, which ordered both. But it is especially when it offers the A220 to already traditional customers that Airbus has made life difficult for Embraer.

The strength of the European company is so great that even Boeing has had great difficulty in closing new orders, as happened with Air France-KLM, whose subsidiary Transavia decided to replace its 737s with the A320neo and A321neo.

Qantas became an A220 customer (Airbus)

In the case of the E2 family, some lost bids such as JetBlue or Breeze Airways were quite painful for the Brazilian company, but there were also favorable situations for it.

KLM Cityhopper’s choice for the E195-E2 was one of them, but winning Porter Airlines’ huge order for 50 jets is undoubtedly Embraer’s biggest victory over Airbus so far.

This is because the Canadian Porter was one of the first interested in the C Series, however, with no prospect of having the aircraft in the short term, it turned to Embraer and will have its first E195-E2 in 2022.

Airbus customers

The agreements with Royal Jordanian Airlines and SalamAir, from Oman, however, have immense symbolic meaning as they are two Airbus customers, unlike Porter, which currently only operates Dash 8 turboprops.

Royal Jordanian, for example, is completing an order for 20 A320neo jets and it would be natural for Airbus to push the A220 into the pack. However, the Jordanian airline’s management preferred to replace its first-generation E-Jets with the new E2s, taking advantage of its knowledge acquired in the Embraer fleet.

Porter’s first E195-E2 (Embraer)

SalamAir, in other hand, surprised by choosing to reinforce its fleet with the E195-E2 since it currently only has A320neo and A321neo aircraft. As a low cost airline, the airline usually prefers to have few types of aircraft for maintenance and training reasons.

Those are important signs that there is room for competition, despite Airbus being an aggressive company in negotiations. The fact is that the E2 jets have advantages in ranges of fewer seats, in addition to the Embraer assembly line being able to deliver aircraft well before the overloaded factories of the European giant. The European planemaker, on the other hand, has a more spacious aircraft that offers impressive range.

Royal Jordanian has four E-Jets in its fleet (Eric Johnston)

For now, the order score is largely favorable to the A220, which had 774 firm orders as of August, mostly for the A220-300 (670).

Until the first half, Embraer had registered 221 orders for the E2, 201 of them for the E195-E2. Add to that the six SalamAir planes and, in the future, the ten Royal Jordanian planes, and the order backlog will reach almost 240 aircraft.

Those figures are expected to grow faster from now on, thanks to Embraer’s offensive around the world.