Milestones After Milestone: A Routine @ Embraer

Embraer is the only manufacturer to develop a modern family of four aircraft specifically targeted for the 70 to 130-seat segment

Issue: 12 / 2017By Air Marshal B.K. Pandey (Retd)Photo(s): By Embraer

December 6, 2017, was indeed a ‘Red Letter Day’ for the Brazilian aerospace major Embraer when the company formally handed over an E175 regional jet airliner, the 1,400th such platform to be produced by it, to Envoy Air, a wholly owned subsidiary of American Airlines Group Inc. The handing over ceremony was held at the industrial facility of Embraer located in São José dos Campos, Brazil. American Airlines has been a customer of Embraer for over two decades and its subsidiary Envoy Air is one of the original operators of regional jets designed, developed and manufactured by Embraer. Today, the fleet operated by Envoy Air has more than 100 regional airliners from the Brazilian original equipment manufacturer.

IN DECEMBER 2017, EMBRAER FORMALLY HANDED OVER AN E175 REGIONAL JET AIRLINER, THE 1,400TH E-JET TO BE PRODUCED BY IT, TO ENVOY AIR, A WHOLLY OWNED SUBSIDIARY OF AMERICAN AIRLINES GROUP INC.

In a span of four years between 2013 and 2017, American Airlines has ordered 74 E175 regional airliners and the latest platform delivered on December 6, 2017, brings the total number of E175 regional airliners with Envoy Air to 44. At the handing over ceremony, Pedro Fábregas, President and Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of Envoy Air said, “Envoy Air has enjoyed a long and very successful partnership with Embraer. The company take great pride in the aircraft they produce and it shows in the quality of the E175 being delivered today. Our employees love operating the aircraft as much as our customers enjoy travelling in it. So we are delighted to share in this important milestone. We look forward to receiving ten more E175s in the near future and operating these outstanding aircraft for many years to come.”

Milestones Crossed Earlier

One aspect that is unique about Embraer is the unfailing consistency with which it has been achieving milestones in its regional airliner programme. Before the most recent success, on September 13, 2013, Embraer had crossed a milestone when it had delivered its 1,000th E-Jet to Republic Airlines, which operates the E175 for American Eagle. Mexico City, Mexico, On December 11, 2014, Embraer delivered the 1,100th E-Jet, an E190 to Aeromexico, the Mexican flag carrier, at the Benito Juárez International Airport in Mexico City. Again on December 2, 2016, Embraer crossed another milestone with its E-Jets programme when it delivered the 1,300th aircraft, an E195, that was handed over to Tianjin Airlines of China. On this occasion too, the ceremony was held at the factory in São José dos Campos. This delivery brought the Tianjin Airlines E-Jet fleet to 45, the largest in Asia.

Milestones Galore: From delivering its 1,000th E-Jet in September 2013 to handing over the 1,400th (to Envoy Air, a wholly owned subsidiary of American Airlines – see above on left is American Eagle, the brand owned by Envoy) in December 2017, Embraer has been making significant achievements

Speaking on the occasion, John Slattery, President and CEO, Embraer Commercial Aviation said “We dedicate this milestone to all our customers who have embraced the E-Jets philosophy. Without each of them, we would never have achieved such success with the programme. It is a matter of great pleasure to share this exciting moment with Tianjin Airlines. We have been partners for many years and we look forward to many more decades of association, as the airline grows with the E2 family of E Jets.” Liu Lu, Executive Chairman and President of Tianjin Airlines, said that this was another milestone for Tianjin Airlines. “Tianjin Airlines started as a regional carrier and E-Jets have played a crucial role in our fleet optimisation and route expansion. Tianjin Airlines is also the largest E-Jets operator in Asia with 62 aircraft, which redefined the operation model of regional aviation in China. We are proud to receive the 1,300th E-Jet of Embraer and we look forward to the new E-Jets E2 to bring us even more value.”

EMBRAER FORECASTS A GLOBAL REQUIREMENT OF 3,765 E2 FAMILY OF AIRLINERS, THE NEW SERIES OF REGIONAL JETS, OVER THE NEXT TWO DECADES

Tianjin Airlines has been a customer of Embraer since 2008 and is among the earliest amongst those in China. During the visit to Brazil in 2014 by Xi Jinping the President of China, Embraer and Tianjin Airlines signed an agreement for up to 20 E195 and 20 E190-E2 regional jet airliners. The first E190-E2 is scheduled to be delivered to Tianjin Airlines in 2018. Tianjin Airlines also operates Embraer’s Authorised Service Centre in the region. Embraer has been leading the Chinese regional aviation industry with a market share around 80 per cent of regional jet orders. To date, the company has logged orders of around 210 commercial aircraft. Within emerging markets, China is among the biggest for manufacturers of regional jet makers. Embraer estimates that the airlines in China woulde require around 975 regional jet airliners in the 61- to 120-seat segment up to 2030. According to Paulo Cesar de Souza e Silva, President of Commercial Aviation, Embraer has a 70 per cent market share for 100-seat jets in the country.

Brief History of Embraer

It was in the year 1969 that the Government of Brazil created a state-owned corporation in the regime of the aerospace industry and named it Empresa Brasileira de Aeronáutica (Embraer). The company initially produced the Embraer EMB 110 Bandeirante, a turboprop passenger aircraft with a seating capacity of a maximum of 21 passengers. However, a large part of its range of products consisted of platforms for military use, the most popular of which was the Embraer EMB 312 Tucano, a turboprop basic trainer aircraft that was widely used internationally. Up to the year 1975, Embraer was dependant solely on the domestic market. It was in 1985 that Embraer unveiled for the civil market, the EMB 120 Brasilia, a twin-turboprop commuter airliner with a seating capacity of 30 passengers. Designed and developed primarily for the export market, this aircraft proved to be the company’s first highly successful venture in the category of small airliners or more appropriately categorised as “regional airliner”. This aircraft was able to penetrate the market in the United States (US) with the first aircraft entering service with Atlantic South East Airlines of the US in October 1985.

In the mid-1990s, the company shifted its focus from products for military aviation to the civil aviation domain and progressively forayed into the production of larger regional airliners, with seating capacity ranging between 70- to 110-seats. Meanwhile, at the end of 1994, the company was privatised, but the Government of Brazil continued to retain partial control as also veto power.

Journey into Regional Jets

The beginning of Embraer’s journey into regional jet liners was marked by the inaugural flight in the year 1995 by its first aircraft in this category named as Embraer Regional Jet (ERJ) 145 that had a seating capacity of 50 passengers. Two years later, the company embarked on a project to develop a 70-seat airliner called the ERJ 170. The aircraft was showcased at the Paris Air Show in June 1999. However, soon after that, Embraer decided to go in for a fresh design and renamed the new product series as E-Jets. The first aircraft with the new identity was the E170 which was unveiled on October 29, 2001, and took to the skies on February 19, 2002. The E170 signified a major success for Embraer as this aircraft received certification by February 2004 from the regulatory authorities of not only Brazil, but of the US and Europe as well. This enabled Embraer to access foreign markets across the globe.

The E-Jet family currently consists of the E170, E175, E190, and E195. The company also introduced a private version derived from the E190, known as the Lineage 1000. Size and capacity wise, the E-Jet family is classified into two groups namely the E170/175 and E190/195.

Embraer’s E-Jet family, launched in 1999, has made its mark in the aviation landscape as Embraer is the only manufacturer to develop a modern family of four aircraft specifically targeted for the 70 to 130-seat segment. Since entering revenue service in 2004, when the first aircraft was delivered to LOT Polish Airlines, the E-Jets family has received more than 1,800 orders of which the company has already delivered 1,400 aircraft. Today, E-Jets are flying in the fleet of 70 customers in 50 countries and the demand across the world for Embraer regional jets is growing. The versatile 70 to 130-seat family has flown more than one billion passengers and flies with low-cost airlines as well as with regional and mainline carriers. The current “E” improvements are a bridge before the introduction of the E-Jet E2 family. The E2 consists of new E175, E190 and E195 models, and it will enter service in 2018. Embraer expects this variant to deliver a double-digit fuel burn improvement. While the E2 is not a full redesign, a major enhancement has been fitment of the geared turbo-fan engines produced by Pratt & Whitney.

The Future

Embraer forecasts a global requirement of 3,765 E2 family of airliners, the new series of regional jets, over the next two decades. As for the market in India for regional airliners from Embraer, given the thrust on regional aviation in the National Civil Aviation Policy unveiled last year and the newly launched Regional Connectivity Scheme also referred to as ‘UDAN’, to bring the facility of air travel at affordable cost to the masses, demand for regional airliners in India is expected to rise manifold. Also, the effort by the Ministry of Civil Aviation to encourage operations on ‘Thin Long Routes’ to provide direct connectivity to destinations at long distances and without transiting through the six major hub airports, regional airliners from Embraer, particularly the latest from E2 family, become relevant for Indian carriers, both mainline and regional.