COMAC and Irkut may establish partnership with Embraer

According to Reuters, manufacturers from China and Russia are studying cooperation with the Brazilian company after the joint venture with Boeing failed

Planemakers COMAC (​​China) and Irkut (Russia) would be talking to Embraer in a possible cooperation in the segment of commercial aircraft, revealed Reuters on Friday. The two manufacturers, which are partners in the CR929 widebody program, also develop commercial jets in the 150-210 seat category, the MC-21 and the C919. Both, however, undergo a development full of mishaps and have not yet gone into production.

Reuters said China’s state-owned COMAC would have shown interest in establishing a partnership with Embraer, according to two people involved in the matter. Irkut, meanwhile, which is part of the United Aircraft Corporation conglomerate, denied the information cited by two other sources at the agency.

In addition to the two companies, India would also have shown interest in establishing some agreement with Embraer since the country is seeking to develop a regional aircraft with 80 to 90 seats.

Embraer declined to comment on the matter, Reuters said. In April, the possibility of a partnership with China circulated among financial analysts days before the end of the agreement with Boeing.

Credit line to finance airplanes

After Boeing gave up on going ahead with the partnership with Embraer, in which it would take over 80% of its commercial jet division, the Brazilian company experienced a brutal drop in the value of its shares and began to negotiate with the government of the country a loan to continue operating.

COMAC ARJ21 (Danny Yu)

However, the changes that passenger air traffic is undergoing, with reduced demand, have made smaller capacity jets more suitable to serve this market. It is precisely where Embraer operates with the E-Jet family of aircraft with 70 to 150 seats.

Both the Chinese and the Russians have jets with about 100 seats being produced, but they are aircraft of very limited potential. COMAC produces the ARJ21, a twin-engine derived from the old American MD-80 and which only had orders from Chinese airlines.

Sukhoi, Irkut’s sister company, and also controlled by UAC, offers the SuperJet, a modern aircraft that uses many Western components, however, its reliability is low and the after-sales service is quite inefficient. The Mexican company Interjet, for example, decided to return them after failing to keep them in operation for a long time.

Sukhoi Superjet SSJ100 (SuperJet)

Whatever the destination of these conversations, it is certain that any partnership with Embraer should not repeat the terms negotiated with Boeing and that left the Brazilian company in a delicate situation.

To reverse this scenario, the Brazilian government, through the development bank BNDES, must offer a credit line to Embraer of $ 600 million to help the sale of its commercial and business jets.


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