With its diverse geography and increasingly prosperous and mobile populations, Southeast Asia has become a target of opportunity the world’s regional aircraft OEMs can no longer afford to overlook.
Embraer E-Jet family
For Brazil’s Embraer, a lot has changed in the 13 years since it first laid brick and mortar in Asia. The world’s major airframe makers now consider China, for example, the second biggest market for airliners in the world, and Embraer’s establishment, first, of an office in Beijing, and later, of a joint venture to build ERJ 145 regional jets in Harbin has proved prescient.
With its diverse geography and increasingly prosperous and mobile populations, Southeast Asia has become a target of opportunity the world’s regional aircraft OEMs can no longer afford to overlook. One of the earliest to tap the region’s potential, Franco-Italian turboprop maker ATR, has for the past 15 years developed a visibility in the region unmatched by its competitors. While others concentrated on the U.S. and Europe, ATR, perhaps out of necessity, took to exploiting less obvious opportunities in developing markets within Vietnam and Thailand, for example.
Embraer delivered 53 business jets in the fourth quarter, closing the year with shipments of 119 executive jets (90 light and 29 large) and meeting its 2013 delivery guidance. At year-end, its firm-order backlog for both executive jets and airliners stood at $18.2 billion.
The world’s economy, for the most part, is slowly and steadily improving, but that has not yet provided the general aviation industry with a shot in the arm. During the past year only two clean-sheet jet designs were formally unveiled–the Pilatus PC-24 and Dassault Falcon 5X–but these were known to be under way for many years before this year’s public program launches.
With the number of Lineage 1000s already in service worldwide approaching a dozen, and more than a few in the Middle East region, Brazilian aircraft manufacturer Embraer is at the Dubai Airshow with its new Lineage 1000E, an airplane that features a serious makeover from nose to tail.
The Middle East and northern Africa have become fertile areas for marketers at Brazil’s Embraer, now the undisputed leader in terms of fleet presence in the region among the world’s regional airliner manufacturers. Of course, the nearly decade-long effort to gain a foothold in a region long considered the virtually exclusive domain of widebodies didn’t yield immediate results, but Embraer’s persistence has undoubtedly paid handsome dividends.
When representatives from Europe’s regional airlines met in Salzburg last month at the annual general assembly of the European Regions Airline Association (ERA), they did so against a backdrop of red tape, high fuel prices, inefficient ATC and the ever growing threat from low-cost carriers and airports biased toward large aircraft. Nevertheless, the ERA was able to report that its members had managed capacity well to remain profitable, reacting to demand and becoming more efficient as signs of a return to growth become more evident.
Embraer Executive Jets unveiled a new version of its flagship business jet–the Lineage 1000E–at this year’s NBAA convention. The E-model comes with extended range, an enhanced interior with the latest-generation cabin entertainment system, new cockpit options and a new external look.
The General Assembly of the European Regions Airline Association (ERA) took place in Salzburg last week with a mixed picture of how airlines are managing, particularly with continued pressure from low-cost-carrier growth and regulatory burdens. In the ERA’s view, Europe has a major problem with central politicians who seem unable to understand the value of regional aviation that local politicians in its many outer regions have little problem appreciating.