Posted on: 26 October 2011 by Ross McSweeny
Embraer is looking to fulfil what it believes is a strong need for aircraft in the 70-120 seat segment in Russia, where, according to VP Europe – commercial aviation, Simon Newitt (pictured), the average age of the regional fleet is about 31 years.
Speaking at the CEO Roundtable event organised by the company in Mallorca, Newitt added, “There are a lot of 737-500s needing to be replaced in that area, so the E-190 or E-195 would be right.”
In other CIS countries, Embraer has already placed E-190s in Ukraine, Kazakhstan and Moldova. But getting into Russia itself, where the E-Jets are yet to be certified, may prove more challenging, Newitt said. “There are political elements to getting a customer there especially as we are competing against Russia’s national projects [the Sukhoi Superjet 100 and Antonov 148]. But a lot of airlines have shown the appetite over the years. We’re hopeful that, with everything going on in that market now, common sense will prevail and airlines can operate the aircraft which is best for them,” he declared.
Assessing the current state of the market, Newitt commented, “With the Airbus [neo] and Boeing [MAX] battle coming in the future, we sometimes forget what is going on right now. Our theme at the Paris Air Show was 1,000 E-Jet orders and counting. We’re still counting, seeing a good level of interest and we’re now at 1,018 orders with 653 options. About 770 E-Jets have been delivered and the firm backlog is around 250.”
Repeat business for the family is also important, Newitt emphasised – on the day when Azul added another 11 firm orders to its own backlog. “That’s testimony to the aircraft proving their worth in operation,” he noted.
Newitt also pointed out that the investment appeal of the family is strong, with leasing companies increasingly adding E-Jets to their portfolios. Only GECAS, Jetscape and Air Lease Corporation (ALC) have ordered new aircraft from the manufacturer, with the rest acquiring their aircraft via sale/leaseback deals. “However, we have brought John Slattery on board to target lessor sales,” Newitt confirmed.
With the CEO Roundtable examining the different models and uses to which E-Jets are put, Newitt reported that their deployment splits into 50% for rightsizing (“this is still in its infancy”), 20% for new markets, 10% as direct replacement for old aircraft and 20% for natural growth. Among the operators of E-Jets, 28% have more than one family member, equivalent to 65% of the total deliveries.
Bernie Baldwin, editor, Low-Fare & Regional Airlines/LARAnews.net,