Embraer has moved back its schedule for entry into service of the new E175-E2 by about a year, from 2020 to 2021, due in part to the failure of U.S. major airlines to negotiate relaxed scope clauses with their pilots. The pilot contracts of all three of the airlines—United, American and Delta—stipulate a limit on maximum takeoff weight of airplanes flying at their regional affiliates. Although the current 76-seat E175 fits within those limits, the heavier E175-E2 does not, nor does the competing Mitsubishi MRJ-90.
Whether those limits expand to allow for the operation of the E175-E2 within the year Embraer has given itself remains in question, however, as the mainline pilots have shown little appetite for compromise on the issue. Most recently, Delta Air Lines pilots on December 1 ratified an agreement that maintains the 86,000 pound mtow and 76-seat capacity limits on airplanes operated by their regional affiliates until 2020. A contract extension reached with United Airlines pilots in January runs until 2019, while American Airlines’ contract becomes amendable in 2020.
Unfortunately for both Embraer and Mitsubishi, most of the interest in both the E175-E2 and MRJ90 has come from U.S. regional airlines, virtually none of which can operate those airplanes without scope clause changes. However, Embraer insists that interest in the current E175 remains strong in North America, and Mitsubishi says its big U.S. customers can opt to change their orders from MRJ-90s to the smaller MRJ-70s, now scheduled for EIS in 2019. Mitsubishi expects to deliver the first MRJ-90 to Japan’s All Nippon Airways in mid-2018.
“This decision [to move the E175-E2’s EIS target] is driven by continued interest in the current generation E175 jet model in the North American market,” said Embraer in a statement. “The E175-E2 is now scheduled to enter service by 2021, and its backlog remains unchanged.”
EIS schedules for both the E190-E2 and E195-E2 remain unchanged. Embraer reiterated that the development and certification program of those aircraft continue to progress as expected.
“We continue to see demand for the current E175 in North America,” said Embraer Commercial Aviation president and CEO John Slattery. “It's simply the best in class platform for the airlines in terms of economic efficiency and of course the passenger experience. Embraer and our suppliers are fully committed to the development of the E175-E2. The E175 is the fleet smart solution available today as the E175-E2 will be for tomorrow.”
Embraer has sold more than 330 E175s to airlines in North America since January 2013, accounting for more than 80 percent of all orders in the 76-seats segment, according to the company.