Any stimulation of the small narrowbody market resulting from Airbus’s involvement in the Bombardier C Series program will also serve to help Embraer, whose E190-E2 and E195-E2 present perhaps the only legitimate challenge to the Canadian product in the under-150-seat market segment, according to Embraer Commercial Aviation CEO John Slattery.
Speaking at the Dubai Air Show last week, Slattery also reminded reporters that until the U.S. government issues antitrust immunity for Airbus’s planned 50.1-percent stake in the C Series, the European manufacturer cannot get involved in C Series marketing efforts. When it does, however, the Brazilian manufacturer expects airlines to abide by their fiduciary responsibility to invite competing bids, opening more targets of opportunity for the E2s.
“Airbus’s potential investment into the C Series certainly validates that 100- to 150-seat segment,” said Slattery. “I expect with Airbus’s marketing team, once they commence marketing the aircraft...my working expectation is that the number of campaigns will increase for Embraer. Ours is a competitive business. There are very few campaigns—less than 1 percent around the world—where airlines don’t request a competitive bid.”
In fact, added Slattery, Embraer has begun increasing its sales and marketing staff to address the expected increased activity.
So far the three E2 members have drawn orders for just 233 copies since its launch in 2013, and none in the Middle East. But with expected certification of the E190-E2 coming within the next 90 days, the company anticipates more commercial announcements early next year, said Slattery.
Addressing market prospects in the region, Embraer vice president of sales and marketing Martin Holmes issued what he called a conservative 20-year market estimate of 370 aircraft, or 4 percent of the world fleet of airplanes with fewer than 150 seats. The forecast assumes airlines in the region will address overcapacity, presenting opportunities for Embraer to help “right-size” fleets from large narrowbodies and even widebodies often used as de facto regional aircraft. In fact, 48 percent of intra-Middle East flights depart with fewer than 120 passengers and 42 percent with load factors of less than 70 percent, according to Embraer analyses. Sixty percent of all segments in the region offer less than one daily flight.
“This [presents] a huge potential for efficiency improvements within the region,” said Holmes. “We think that capacity management can really help improve yields.”