Embraer is increasingly determined to invest in the passenger turboprop market as its core business in commercial aviation. During an interview at the first E195-E2 delivery event for Helvetic Airways, Arjan Meijer, CEO of Embraer Commercial Aviation, stated that he hopes to launch the new aircraft next year.
“Embraer is still very much focused on the segment. We are still working on a turboprop and hope to launch the program in 2022,” he said. Meijer predicts that the new aircraft could enter service between 2027 and 2028.
The Brazilian planemaker intends to find partners to help share the high cost of development and says that there are several conversations in this regard.
The aircraft will be larger than the most popular regional turboprops on the market such as the ATR 72 and Dash 8, with capacity between 70 and 100 seats, and should take advantage of part of the E-Jet family design.
According to Meijer, the cross section of the fuselage will be similar to the E1 and E2 jets, which would mean an interior space far superior to competitors.
The executive’s confidence lies in the fact that turboprops can become the ideal platform for new propulsion technologies in early development, such as a hybrid-electric or hydrogen-powered – path chosen by Airbus, including a model similar to the ATR.
Demand for 1,080 aircraft
In previous statements, the company revealed that the plane could be launched with conventional propulsion, but accept possible changes in technology. A key point, however, is that the twin engine will need to offer a low noise and vibration level in order to eliminate one of the points considered negative for some passengers.
Arjan guarantees that the aircraft will offer “better performance, with better cost performance, much lower noise levels”.
In the annual survey in which it makes its demand forecasts, Embraer pointed to the need for 1,080 new turboprops by 2029. Most of these aircraft will be purchased by companies in China and Asia-Pacific (490 units) and Europe (190). The list also includes Latin America (130), Africa (80), North America (80), CIS (80) and the Middle East (30).
The manufacturer stated that 75% of the new regional jets and turboprops will serve to replace older jets and another 25% in the expansion of fleets following the market growth, which in the company’s view should return to pre-pandemic levels only in 2024.