DUBAI 2011: Same skin, new aircraft possibility for E-Jet Evolution

Embraer has confirmed that it has decided against building an all-new aircraft larger than its current E-Jet family, concentrating instead on developing the current airframe with new engines and probably other evolutionary technology under the skin of the aircraft, according to Paulo Cesar de Souza e Silva, president, commercial aviation.

“We are now engaged in talking to clients. We want to understand what type of performance they want to see. Our target is to have entry into service around 2018 just after the A320neo and the 737 MAX,” he added, admitting that the final result “could be similar to when Boeing produced the 737NG with almost an all-new aircraft inside the same skin. There may even be a new wing. But we will take the next year to learn what the customers want and then go for a firm decision to launch”.

The programme, referred to as the E-Jets EV, comes after the manufacturer “receiving strong messages to stay strong in this market segment”, Cesar commented. “And we didn’t see a business case to spend billions of dollars in a market segment where the competition has already built up backlogs of almost 2,000 units.”

The total investment Embraer expects to put into the EV is “tough to say now”, according to Cesar. “We don’t know yet how many of the four models we are going to need to re-engine. For the customers, the rightsizing concept will remain between the new narrowbodies and the E-Jets with the EVs. Primarily, the customer base will naturally be those currently in the portfolio but there will also be airlines using smaller jets undergoing natural growth.”

As for the engines which may be employed on the EV family, Cesar said Embraer is looking at all alternatives. “Of course, GE is the incumbent but we do want to look at the others and also get the customers’ views. As for fuel consumption reduction, we are looking to get more than what the narrowbodies are getting in their re-engining (approximately 16%),” he noted.

In early consultations, some clients have asked Embraer to increase the size of the E-195. “This is where a new engine may also lead to a new wing depending on the size of the fan. It’s a possibility,” Cesar acknowledged.

One thing unlikely to change dramatically is the range of the family, with no calls from customers for something approaching the 3,000 nm offered by Bombardier’s CSeries. “Customers are not mentioning this. It’s possible that they believe that too much range may lead to additional cost for something they are not likely to need,” Cesar confirmed.

On the current E-Jet family, product developments are also continuing. In 2012, Embraer will introduce a fuel burn improvement package, then in 2013 increased maintenance plan intervals followed by a next-generation flight management system (FMS), reported Cesar.

Bernie Baldwin, editor, Low-Fare & Regional Airlines/
Dubai, UAE

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