Embraer’s return to the turboprop aircraft market is close to occurring, as Reuters revealed on Monday. In an interview with the news agency, the CEO of the company’s commercial division, John Slattery, confirmed that the new plane is in an advanced stage of study.
The executive also revealed that the aircraft will be large, with a capacity for 70 passengers or more, which places it at a higher level than the main competitor, ATR, whose two versions have 40 to 70 seats.
“It sits in our target market, which we have always been clear is below 150 seats, and will have natural adjacency to the E2 offering,” he said. The information coincides with an old illustration by Embraer that showed a turboprop aircraft based on the fuselage of its jets, and that can reduce the project costs by expanding the similarity between them.
Slattery also made it clear that the turboprop will be part of the joint venture with Boeing, despite having arisen independently from the joint program. The reason is that the new aircraft can cost billions of dollars, the investment of which cannot be financed by it alone. According to him, “No JV, no TP” (no joint venture, no turboprop).
It is said that one of the clauses in the contract between the two manufacturers provides that Embraer will not be able to compete with the joint venture planes as a way of preventing possible problems in the partnership.
The design of a new turboprop has been mentioned by Slattery in recent years, but Embraer’s CEO often explains that it will be necessary to investigate new technologies such as hybrid or electric propulsion before deciding to launch the program.
Despite this, the Brazilian manufacturer is already talking to engine manufacturers such as GE, Pratt & Whitney and Rolls-Royce in search of an efficient solution for the new aircraft.
Interest in turboprops has recently increased, in line with ecological concerns and also with lower operating costs on short-haul flights.