Embraer’s long-awaited next-gen turboprop aircraft may find great opportunities in markets in the Asia-Pacific region. In the next two decades, the manufacturer predicts a global demand for 2,260 passenger turboprops, of which 900 of them (39.8%) will be sold in the area that comprises Asian nations and countries bordering the Pacific Ocean.
In an interview with Flight Global, Arjan Meijer, president and CEO of Embraer Commercial Aviation, said that the company sees India, Indonesia and the Pacific Islands as the main potential and most immediate markets for the introduction of the new turboprop. In the executive’s opinion, airlines in these countries will begin fleet renewal processes in the coming years.
Meijer stressed that the announcement about the turboprop development program could take place by the end of this year or early 2023. He also said that the “big decision” on the project depends on the choice of engines that will be applied to the aircraft.
“The engine is all about innovation level, fuel burn, and reliability… the [turboprop], for us, is a huge opportunity here in Asia,” said the CEO of Embraer Commercial Aviation. However, the executive emphasized that there is still no closed deal with an engine supplier.
Despite this, Rolls-Royce was very interested in supplying engines for the project. In Singapore, Chris Cholerton, president of the company, stated that “We are very interested in supporting Embraer with a potential turboprop engine for this aircraft, we see a lot of potential.”
Currently, the British company does not have a turboprop engine for the civilian market, only the AE 2100, which is used by the C-130J Super Hercules.
Embraer’s new turboprop aircraft will be offered in two versions, one for 70 seats and the other for 90 seats. The aircraft will use the same fuselage as the E2 regional jet family, which will simplify and reduce production costs, according to the CEO.
Meijer also added that the E2’s turboprop-adapted platform offers greater passenger comfort and the aircraft could be equipped as standard with an APU (auxiliary power unit), an unusual piece of equipment in the passenger turboprop category. Another aspect highlighted by the executive is that the plane can be fueled with SAF (Sustainable Aviation Fuel).
Embraer has a small presence in Asia-Pacific
Consolidated in the US commercial aviation market and in major European centers, Embraer still has a modest presence in the Asia-Pacific region.
Considering the E1 and E2 family jets, in addition to the former ERJ, there are approximately 175 aircraft of the Brazilian company in the fleets of airlines in Asia and the Pacific region.
Embraer’s largest customers in the region are the Chinese airline Tianjin Airlines, with 52 aircraft (32 E190 and 20 E195 models), and Japan’s J-Air, with 32 aircraft (18 E170 and 14 E190 jets).