Embraer to Decide on Next Commercial Project This Year

 - March 25, 2011, 10:06 AM

Embraer will decide on whether to develop a new five-abreast narrowbody aircraft some time by the end of this year, company CEO Frederico Curado said today during his company’s fourth-quarter earnings call. Curado reiterated earlier indications that he will wait for Boeing to decide on a successor to the 737NG before reaching any conclusions about a new Embraer jet, and predicted the Chicago-based aerospace giant would announce a decision within the next few months.

“Boeing, I think, more and more talks openly about a brand-new design, which in my humble opinion makes a lot of sense,” said Curado. “Their engineering is probably going to be less and less loaded with the 787 and 747-8…so a clean-sheet design makes sense.

Embraer officials are waiting until they know what Boeing plans to do before deciding, Curado said, “whether or not we engage in the development of a new, larger aircraft or if we keep ourselves focused in existing segments by revamping the E-Jets at this stage.” By larger aircraft, he said he meant one that seats five abreast.

Although Curado himself raised the possibility of “revamping” the E-Jets, he characterized the idea as “premature.”

“The airplane is still state of the art,” he said. “Sales are testimony of what I am saying,” referring, for example, to a deal announced on March 21 involving 15 E175s and five E190 for Alitalia.

“So I do not feel pressed at all about re-engining or redesigning the E-Jets,” he continued. “They are very competitive aircraft. So what we really should focus is [on the question], ‘is there really an opportunity for Embraer to increase its participation in the market by coming to the next segment…in the, let’s say, 130-seats-or- so segment?’

“I think the final piece of this moving puzzle, which I have been talking about for the last three, four, five years, looks like is going to be fixed within the next few months by Boeing.”