REGIONAL AVIATION | INTERVIEW
Embraer achieved 1,000 E-Jets delivery in less than 10 years post its entry into service. Today, the E-Jets fleet has accumulated more than 19 million flight hours, redefining the traditional concept of regional aircraft by operating across a range of business applications. SP’s Aviation Editor-in-Chief Jayant Baranwal speaks to John Slattery, President & CEO of Embraer Commercial on this occasion
Jayant Baranwal (JB): How do you perceive this milestone?
John Slattery (Slattery): We dedicate this milestone to all our operator and lessor partners who embrace the E-Jets philosophy. Without each of them, we would never have achieved such success with the programme. The milestone of the 1,300th delivery is a testament to how right-sizing makes sense. The E-Jets E2; the second generation of the E-Jet programme, takes us to the next chapter in this compelling story, offering unrivalled economics with an already global and highly successful franchise, ensuring a winning combination for both airline and passenger.
Relevance of this 1300th E-Jet milestone for India:
We have seen multiple ‘success stories’ across the globe, demonstrating how airlines have used E-Jets to profitably stimulate traffic in secondary and tertiary cities. Tianjin Airlines operates their fleet of E190s to develop routes to and from cities like Tianjin, Xi‘an, Urumqi (west China) and Hohhot (northern China). Similarly, we believe the E-Jets will have a central role to play in supporting India in achieving its regional connectivity goals, and this should include building on the existing air links at existing airports where new routes can be developed or route frequencies can be increased. It’s a fleetsmart solution for airlines. We believe this opportunity is real and that introducing the E-jets into the Indian airspace now will drive profitable growth of the industry and the economy in India.
Based on Embraer’s studies, two-thirds of underserved markets within India are too thin in passenger demand for traditional narrowbody (B737 or A320) aircraft operations and more than 80 per cent of these markets have stage lengths too long for viable turboprop operations. It is forecast that by 2020, there will be more than 120 underserved markets with an average stage length of more than 1,000 km. These markets are more optimally served by 80- to 130-seat jets offering the ideal capacity size to match thin passenger demand and with the adequate range capabilities. Being the world’s leading 70- to 130-seat aircraft family, we aspire to having the E-Jet being the aircraft of choice in these regional markets.
JB: How do you position Embraer in the changing world today?
Slattery: With almost 50 years’ experience in design, development, production, commercialisation and support of civil aircraft to airlines around the world, Embraer is uniquely positioned in terms of experience to provide airlines the confidence they need for acquiring efficient products and services. Support and services is also a cornerstone of our investment philosophy. We support more than 2,000 commercial aircraft via a worldwide network of owned and authorised service centers, including a 24-hour customer care facility in Brazil. I’m expecting that these investments and product innovations will keep us one step ahead well into the next decade.
JB: Can you comment on some of the past milestones?
Slattery: When we launched the clean sheet E-Jet design just over 10 years ago it was to create an all new market segment. From the first deliveries, in March of 2004, to LOT Polish Airlines and US Airways, the programme grew steadily until achieved this 1,300 produced E-Jet right today. Even with one of the biggest economic crises in the world, Embraer achieved 1,000 E-Jets delivery in less than 10 years post its entry into service. Today, the E-Jets fleet has accumulated more than 19 million flight hours, redefining the traditional concept of regional aircraft by operating across a range of business applications.
JB: If you can elaborate on the transformation process, i.e. ERJ to E-Jet journey, for example?
Slattery: The introduction of the ERJ family, in 1996, represented the beginning of the commercial jets era for Embraer. However, the ERJs were more concentrated in the US and Western Europe. The E-Jets programme was a bold decision that represented a technological leap for Embraer in terms of design, aircraft size and avionics. Also, with the E-Jets, Embraer expanded its customer base worldwide, reaching airlines everywhere, from Mexico to Australia, including regions like Eastern and Central Europe and Africa, apart from the US and Western Europe. In fact, today, E-jets are being operated by 70 airlines in 50 countries. This customer base gives the E-Jets E2 a strong tailwind of momentum given the established global footprint. We’re expecting to capture new operators in the coming years given the substantial operational cost savings the E2s will bring compared to some larger currentproduction jets as airlines right-size to improve their yields. Again, it is now proven; the E-jets are a fleetsmart solution!