Last week, Azul Linhas Aéreas presented the first Embraer E195 adapted to transport up to 15 tons of cargo.
The aircraft is not a definitive conversion to a freighter, but certified by ANAC, the Brazilian civil aviation authority, to transport small containers fixed where the seats were installed.
In order to increase its carrying capacity, the E195 received heat and fire resistant materials and temperature sensors. The project was developed by Azul’s engineering teams in partnership with the company LHColus Tecnologia.
The prototype performed 12 concept tests, eight ground fire barrier tests and a certification flight with ANAC technicians. The model was certified for commercial use in early February and can be rolled back to passengers in a short time.
“Over the next few weeks we will have 4 E195 aircraft with this new configuration. These aircraft bring even more flexibility to strengthen our network and expand logistics business throughout the country,” said Izabel Reis, director of Azul Cargo.
Due to the Covid-19 pandemic, Brazilian airlines were already authorized by ANAC, on an exceptional and temporary basis, to transport cargo in the cabin of passenger planes.
Azul explained that the boarding of cargo in the cabin is limited by the dimensions of the aircraft doors, originally designed to receive passengers. According to the company, the plane can accommodate volumes of 1.1 meters in height, 0.5 meters in width and 0.84 meters in length.
“We kept the overhead bins installed to ensure versatility and greater speed in reversing and cargo-to-passenger and passenger-to-cargo configurations. These reversals can be carried out within a period of up to five days. In addition, bins are excellent compartment options for accommodating small volumes,” added Azul.
|Aircraft||E195 Freighter||B737-800BCF||A321P2F||ATR 72-600F|
|Length||38,65 m||38 m||44,51 m||27,17 m|
|Max payload||15.000 kg||20.768 kg||27.000 kg||9.200 kg|
|MTOW||50790 kg||79.000 kg||93.500 kg||23.000 kg|
|Range||3.200 km||4.760 km||3.800 km||1.667 km|
|Payload vs MTOW||29,5%||26,3%||28,9%||40,0%|
The fast conversion developed by Azul and its partner impresses with its large payload capacity. With 15 tonnes on board, the E195 has a Maximum Take-Off Weight (MTOW) of 50.8 tonnes, i.e. a 29.5% payload ratio.
As a comparison, the A321P2F, a cargo aircraft converted from a passenger model, can carry 27 tons for an MTOW of 93.5 tons (28.9%). Therefore, the Embraer jet carries proportionally more cargo than the Airbus and over a significant distance, 3,200 km against 3,800 km for the European aircraft.
The project’s restrictions are the impossibility of transporting standard containers since the jet did not receive a cargo door or reinforcement of the floor, interventions much more expensive and that would prevent its reconversion for passengers.
Embraer is studying a more aggressive conversion program, similar to that of Airbus and Boeing, which should lead to a freighter with a capacity of 14 tons of payload and a range of 2,000 nautical miles (3,700 km).