If anyone still doubts the efficiency offered by Embraer’s new family of commercial jets, just talk to Helvetic Airways executives. The Swiss airline, one of the first to debut an E2 series aircraft, revealed at a news conference on Wednesday that the E190-E2 has been up to 20% more economical than its predecessor, instead of 17.3% as expected by the manufacturer.
“We have completed 846 flights with the first two E190-E2 so far and found that the fuel economy is even greater than what Embraer promised,” said Tobias Pogorevc, CFO at Helvetic. The executive added that the aircraft’s reliability is very high (99%) and that the Pratt & Whitney PW1900 engines have not had any problems so far. There was some concern because of flaws presented by a version used by Airbus rival A220.
Pogorevc was very interested in the E195-E2, the largest member of the family, which was presented in Zurich. “We want to take a closer look at the aircraft and we are talking to Embraer thinking that the 195 would complement the 190 very well. It is quite possible that we will buy the 195,” he said.
Helvetic Airways was the third airline in the world to receive the E190-E2 in October last year. It currently has three planes in the fleet, the most recent of them (HB-AZC) delivered this week. The airline’s total order is 12 units and four of them must be received during the summer season in order to retire the first generation E190s (11 aircraft). Until last year, the airline was flying the old Fokker 100s that ended up being sold to an Australian group.
In addition to its own routes, Helvetic also provides services to Swiss, part of the Lufthansa group. The airline operates the Zurich-Munich wet-lease route for Lufthansa itself.
Rising deliveries, orders not so much
Embraer’s new E2 family is an evolution of the E-Jets, a series that dominates the market below 130 seats in commercial aviation, with 1,579 aircraft delivered until December 2019. With three versions (E175-E2, E190-E2 and E195-E2), the new series offers more internal space, reach and lower operating costs. However, sales have been frustrating. Currently, there are 171 firm orders and 108 options, but only for the larger variants – the E175-E2 remains without a single customer.
After a slow start to production, Embraer accelerated deliveries, ending 2019 with 18 jets sent to its customers – 11 of the E190-E2 version and seven of the E195-E2 and which is capable of carrying around 136 passengers. Among the possible causes of the lack of large orders may be the delay in the start of the joint venture between Embraer and Boeing, which stalled in the European Union.
The committee that analyzes the proposal has asked for more time and information before deciding, however, the delay has already caused criticism from airlines and lessors for favoring Airbus. In the opinion of these potential customers, Embraer alone does not have the same margin of negotiation as the European aerospace giant, which has just bought Bombardier’s share in the A220, an E2 rival jet. The concern is that the market may become unbalanced in favor of Airbus, making the environment less competitive, precisely the reason alleged by European authorities to delay the joint venture.
Given the good reception of the E190-E2 by Helvetic, the dispute between the two aircraft may be interesting in the future.