As expected, Embraer launched the program for converting passenger-to-cargo E-Jets aircraft. Named the E190F and E195F, they are expected to enter service from 2024 and the company predicts a potential market for 700 aircraft over the next 20 years.
The conversion only includes the two larger versions of the first generation E-Jets, of which Embraer estimates there are 380 E190s and 90 E195s with the potential to be converted into freighters.
“Perfectly positioned to fill the gap in the freighter market between turboprops and larger narrowbody jets, our P2F E-Jet conversion hits the market as the demand for airfreight continues to takeoff, and as e-commerce and trade in general undergoes a global structural transformation,” said Arjan Meijer, President and CEO Embraer Commercial Aviation.
The E190F will be able to carry a payload of 10.7 tonnes (23,600 pounds) while the E195F a total of 12.3 tonnes (27,100 pounds). Both will receive a wide cargo door in the forward part of the fuselage to allow the loading of containers.
Embraer intends to fill a niche currently without competitors, with a capacity and range superior to that of turboprops such as the ATR 72-600F, but with lower costs than the 737 and A320 converted to cargo.
The conversion process will be carried out by the company in Brazil and will include “main deck front cargo door; cargo handling system; floor reinforcement; Rigid Cargo Barrier (RCB) – 9G Barrier with access door; cargo smoke detection sytem, including class ‘E’ extinguishers in upper cargo compartment; Air Management System changes (cooling, pressurization, etc); interior removal and provisions for hazardous material transportation.”
The market potential is considered high due to the growth of e-commerce and the fact that many routes with lower demand can be carried out point-to-point with an aircraft of this size.
“The E-Jet air freighters will provide fast, reliable, and cost effective service to freight forwarders, extend the revenue earning life of E-Jets, support E-Jets’ asset values, and create a strong business case encouraging the replacement of earlier aircraft with modern, more efficient, passenger aircraft,” said Johann Bordais, President & CEO, Embraer Services and Support.
The Embraer project differs from the conversion made by the Brazilian airline Azul and recently certified. In this case, the aircraft will be able to carry passengers again as the changes are reversible and more restricted. The airline, however, claims the E195 can carry around 15 tonnes of cargo, well above the manufacturer’s conversion.