Embraer’s E190-E2 cleared for airline service

Embraer’s E190-E2 regional jet has received certification from authorities in Brazil, Europe and the United States, paving the way for first delivery to Scandinavia-based carrier Wideroe.

The aircraft received its type certificate from the Brazilian Civil Aviation Agency (Agência Nacional de Aviação Civil – ANAC), the US Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) and European Aviation Safety Agency (EASA) at a ceremony held at Embraer’s Sao Jose dos Campos headquarters on Wednesday.

The company said it was the first time an aircraft program at the level of complexity of the E2 had received a type certificate from three major worldwide certification authorities simultaneously.

Embraer Commercial Aviation president and chief executive John Slattery (centre) celebrates certification of the E190-E2. (Embraer/Twitter)
Embraer Commercial Aviation president and chief executive John Slattery (centre) celebrates certification of the E190-E2. (Embraer/Twitter)

“Having had the pleasure of launching the E-Jets E2 family back in 2013, it is very emotional for me to see the E190-E2 reach type certificate today, on schedule and on budget,” Embraer president and chief executive Paulo Cesar de Souza e Silva said.

“Not only all development targets were met, but several important ones like fuel burn, performance, noise and maintenance costs came in better than originally specified.”

Wideroe’s inaugural flight with the E190-E2 is expected to be on April 24 from Bergen to Tromso.

Part of the family

The E190-E2, which is designed to seat between 97 and 114 passengers, is one of three variants in the E2 family of aircraft.

There is also the E195-E2 (120- 144 passengers), which began flight testing in March 2017 and is slated for certification and entry into service with launch customer Azul Brazilian Airlines in the first half of 2019.

Boasting a range of 2,600nm, the E195-E2 is capable of operating Sydney-Bali or Darwin-Bangkok.

Destinations within range of Darwin with the E195-E2. (Embraer)
A 2017 slide from Embraer showing destinations within range of Darwin with the E195-E2. (Embraer)

Finally, entry into service of the E175-E2, which seats 80-90 passengers, was expected to occur in 2021.

The trio will be powered by Pratt & Whitney PW1700G and PW1900G geared turbofan engines.

The E2 improves on the current generation E-Jets with new engines, new aerodynamically advanced, high-aspect ratio, distinctively shaped wings, and improved systems and avionics, including fourth generation full fly-by-wire flight controls.

This was expected to result in double-digit reductions in fuel and maintenance costs compared with the current E-jet family. From an environmental perspective, the new aircraft also produced less emissions and less noise. The aircraft will also have a new interior with larger overhead bins and a new first class concept, among other interior improvements.

Indeed figures from Embraer showed the E190-E2’s fuel consumption was 17.3 per cent better than the current generation E190 during the flight testing program and a claimed “nearly 10 per cent better” than the aircraft’s direct competitor.

Compared to the first-generation E190, 75 per cent of the aircraft systems are new.

An eye on Asia

The E2 family of aircraft competes against Bombardier’s C Series jets and others in the up-to-150-seats segment that Embraer estimates will require 10,550 new aircraft over the next 20 years.

Of those, airlines in the Asia Pacific were forecast to require 3,010 new aircraft in that segment, representing 29 per cent of total worldwide demand.

The outlook noted the rise of Chinese and Indian carriers would help fuel demand over the next two decades alongside the need to replace older, less fuel efficient aircraft.

Embraer's 20-year outlook for aircraft with up to 150 seats. (Embraer)
Embraer’s 20-year outlook for aircraft with up to 150 seats. (Embraer)

Embraer Commercial Aviation vice-president for Asia Pacific César Pereira noted the E-jets helped airlines better match capacity with demand and broaden their network reach to second and third tier cities.

“Then the overall profitability of the airline increases,” Pereira told media during a briefing at the Singapore Airshow in early February.

“The E-jets, with the right capacity aircraft up to 150 seats jet, they can preserve yields and improve revenue per ASK [available seat kilometre] and also improve returns. Airlines don’t have to invest in a more expensive asset to target low-yielding passengers.

“In this regard, the E-Jets E2 can help airlines to open new markets at the lowest possible risk, complement larger fleet types to maximize profit, and achieve sustainable growth with higher profitability.”

Currently, Embraer has 70 E-jet customers in 50 countries and a 29 per cent share of deliveries in the up-to-150-seats segment. Bombardier has the next largest market share with 25 per cent, followed by Airbus at 16 per cent, turboprop maker ATR (13 per cent) and Boeing (12 per cent). Other operators make up the remaining five per cent of the market.

Embraer Commercial Aviation president and chief executive John Slattery said one of the company’s goals is to have 100 operators of E-jets in the years ahead, which if achieved would likely mean having the aircraft flying in about 75 countries.

“We are very committed to growing the operator base,” Slattery said at the Singapore Airshow.

“When we are talking about growing the operator base it’s not E2s.

“Perhaps Embraer as an OEM [original equipment manufacturer] might be somewhat different to the other OEMs but our sales force is as committed to bringing in new operators of pre-owned aircraft as they are to selling brand new aircraft from the production.”

Slattery said he expected having the E190-E2 commence revenue service would support more orders for the program.

“I expect we are going to see throughout the course of this year marquee names join the program,” Slattery said.

“Fifty per cent roughly of the conversations we are having today are with airlines that are not current operators of any E-jet. And that’s exciting for us.

“I do think we are the front end of a year of momentum for sales around the E2.”

Embraer labelled its E190-E2 the ‘Profit Hunter’ and brought one of its test aircraft to the Singapore Airshow with a special tiger livery.

VIDEO: Embraer’s YouTube channel shows how the aircraft was painted.

Local prospects

Until recently Virgin Australia was a significant Embraer operator in the region, with as many as 18 E190s and six E170s in its fleet earlier in the decade.

However, its six E170s left the fleet during 2011 and 2012, while in 2016, Virgin Australia started withdrawing the E190s. The airline operated its last flight with the aircraft in February.

On a more positive note, other Embraer operators in Australia have grown their fleets in recent times. In September 2016, Airnorth picked up its fifth E170 jet, while Jetgo is slated to pick up an E-Jet later in 2018 to join its fleet of ERJs for the start of flights between Brisbane and Singapore via Karratha.