Embraer on March 7 rolled out the first E195-E2 airliner from the São José dos Campos facility, declaring it the largest aircraft ever produced in Brazil. The manufacturer plans to begin the flight-test phase ahead of schedule during the first half of the year.
Planned for entry into service in the first half of 2019 with launch operator Azul of Brazil, the second-generation E-Jet is powered by twin Pratt & Whitney PW1900G geared turbofan engines and provides three additional rows of seats compared with the current E195. The single-aisle airliner can seat 120 passengers in two-class configuration and up to 146 in a single class, Embraer says. Advertised range is 2,450 nm—an increase of 450 nm. Azul plans to take the 30 airplanes on which it holds a firm order in a single-class, 130-seat layout.
Embraer will deploy two prototypes for the E195-E2 flight-test program. The aircraft it just rolled out will be used for aerodynamic and performance tests. The second prototype, which is cycling through final assembly, will be used for validation of maintenance tasks and testing of the interior. The manufacturer expects to fly both aircraft before the end of the year, John Slattery, Embaer commercial aviation president and CEO, told AIN in an interview before the roll-out.
“We are ahead of schedule,” he said of the first-flight milestone. “The guidance we’ve given to the market is the second half of this year, but I would be surprised and disappointed if the first 195-E2 does not enter into the flight-test program in the first half of this year.” Slattery said he expects to receive updated guidance on the schedule in April.
The 106-seat capacity E190-E2, the first of the new-generation E-Jet variants, performed its maiden flight on May 23 last year. Embraer has now completed about one-third of the flight test program with three test aircraft; a fourth will join the program in a few weeks, Slattery said. Plans call for the E190-E2 to enter service in the first half of 2018, and a third variant—the E175-E2—in 2021.
Embraer reports receiving 275 firm orders since the E-Jets E2 program launch in 2013, including 90 for E195-E2. The current buyers are aircraft leasing company AerCap of Schiphol, the Netherlands (25 firm orders), lessor AirCastle of Stamford, Conn. (10), Indian regional airline Air Costa (25) and Brazilian low-cost carrier Azul (30). Those companies also have options for 80 more E195-E2s. Embraer will announce the launch customer soon, Slattery said.
The Brazilian manufacturer contends the E195-E2 will deliver 15 percent better fuel burn per trip and nearly 10 percent better fuel burn per seat than Airbus’s re-engined A319neo or Boeing’s 737 Max single-aisle airliners, making it well suited for low-cost operations in mid-density markets. The list price of the largest E2 jet is $66.6 million.
“It is a profit-hunting machine,” Slattery said. “I think it’s going to open up operators that have not looked at the E1 version of the aircraft because of the increased number of seats, the increased range, the significant reduction in fuel burn per seat and the reduction in maintenance costs per seat. I think the E195-E2 will be a machine that will be viewed very closely by the low-cost carriers around the world as they look to advance their own franchise footprints outside of the larger cosmopolitan areas that they’re serving—the trunk routes. As they look to grow and change yield, they have to go to smaller markets. With the 195-E2 it will be a far more preferable aircraft to do that over the larger narrowbodies that are in production today.”
Asked if any government dignitaries would attend the E195-E2 roll-out, Slattery said the ceremony was “about celebrating and thanking our employees, not only in São José but around the world. We are dedicating this roll-out to our employees; they are [the] dignitaries.”