The large orders for commercial aircraft have been located mainly among single-aisle jets with 180 to 240 seats, making the queue for the A320neo and 737 MAX to be years.
But not even the great demand for Boeing and Airbus jets motivates Embraer to enter this category of aircraft. At least for now.
In the interview to Aviation Week, the company’s CEO, Francisco Gomes Neto, commented on a possible plane larger than the E195-E2 (with capacity for up to 146 seats).
“We are not considering starting a huge new program costing billions right now. We’re focused on recovering past investments to develop the E2 family,” he said.
Embraer is also developing the Energia family, of small aircraft with hybrid-electric and hydrogen propulsion, but with distant goals.
At the same time, the Brazilian manufacturer says it is still keeping alive the regional turboprop project with 70 and 100 seats. The aircraft will be based on the fuselage of the E-Jets, but with turboprop engines on the tail and a low ground clearance to facilitate operation in airports without great infrastructure.
“A big airplane could change the size of the company, but it could also put the company at a big risk”, reinforced Gomes Neto.
Industry calls for bigger jets
In fact, Embraer has not had the same appetite for investment as in the past. After developing the E2 series with three models completed in a short period of time, the company is now faced with a strategic error, the E175-E2.
The smallest of the E2s was supposed to be a bespoke aircraft for the US market, but it depended on the relaxation of scope rules to become viable.
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This did not happen and there is no prospect of changes in the agreement between the pilots’ unions and the country’s major carriers.
Therefore, Embraer froze the program without a clear deadline. The only prototype would have been partially dismantled, according to reports.
Portfolio expansion beyond the E195-E2, however, is tempting. The variant itself has proven the most attractive to customers, with 245 of the 270 firm orders through March.
Not long ago, Embraer would have studied a new length increase on the E195-E2 in order to offer more seats. The aircraft, however, is close to the limit as, with its more than 41 meters, it is longer than an A320 or a 737 MAX 8.
The potential demonstrated by the Airbus A220 is certainly a good reason for Embraer. The jet developed by Bombardier would be about to gain a higher capacity version, in addition to seeing its production rate increase in the coming months.
An aircraft larger than the E2 would put the Brazilian planemaker in direct competition with Boeing and Airbus, something quite difficult to deal with.
But if there is currently a manufacturer in the West with the technical capacity for this, it is precisely Embraer.