Brazil’s Embraer is about to receive the first pair of Pratt & Whitney PW1900G turbofans for its new E190-E2, as the company nears full assembly of the first prototype, scheduled for completion by the end of the year. Speaking to reporters at the Dubai Airshow, Embraer Commercial Airplanes CEO Paulo Cesar de Souza e Silva noted that the program remains “on track” for first flight in the second half of next year, possibly as early as July. Now operating its so-called iron bird in São Jose dos Campos, Brazil, Embraer plans to use four flight-test airplanes in the program, three of which it expects to fly in 2016 and the fourth—equipped with a full interior—early the following year. Embraer plans to deliver the first E109-E2 in the first half of 2018.
Silva stressed the importance of Middle East operations of the current line of E-Jets to “learnings” incorporated into the new line. Nine operators in the Middle East now operate 58 E-Jets.
“Markets like here, the Middle East market, with a hot and harsh environment, are very demanding, especially for aircraft such as ours with a lot of cycles,” noted Silva. “It’s not like a larger aircraft that flies longer and less cycles...So we have taken into account our experience here to improve the product.”
Now building some 100 E-Jets a year, Embraer plans a two-year transition between production of the E1s and E2s, building E1s until at least 2020, said Silva. Production rates will increase slightly over the next two years, he added, and the company plans to maintain rates through the production transition.
Now celebrating its 10th anniversary of E-Jet operation in the Middle East, Embraer continues to see strong growth potential in the region for the E2s, said the company’s vice president for Europe, the Middle East and Africa, Mathieu Duquesnoy. “This segment is very relevant in this part of the world,” he stressed. “Of all flights within the region over the past twelve months, 41 percent have carried less than 120 passengers.”
Duquesnoy also emphasized the level of investment Embraer has committed to maintaining reliability in the harsh operating environment of the Middle East. In fact, Oman Air stands as the worldwide leader in dispatch reliability for the E175.
In its 2015 global market forecast, Embraer predicts that the Middle East will require 220 jets in the 70- to 130-seat capacity category through 2034.