Embraer continues and refines its strategy at the low-end of 100-149 seat sector

While Airbus and Boeing slug it out in the competition for the duopoly and Bombardier struggles to gain respect as an emerging mainline jetliner producer, Embraer continues and refines its strategy in the smaller-end of the jet market with its E-Jets, E-Jet “Plus” (our term) and the E-Jet E-2.

Source: Embraer, Reprinted with permission.

Source: Embraer, Reprinted with permission.

Embraer is broadening its offering from a maximum of 122 seats to a maximum of 132 and dropping its low-end E-170 from future variants. This brings the EMB family to 90-132 seats, following the decision to undertake an extreme makeover of the current E-175/190/195 line by adapting the Pratt & Whitney P1000 Geared Turbo Fan engine to a new wing design and upgrading a variety of systems in the E-Jet E2.

New Features

 Source: Embraer. Reprinted with permission.

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Busy Week ahead: First flights; and Odds and Ends:Lufthansa to split order; Embraer tells of upgrades

Update, 2:30PM PDT: Boeing confirms that Tuesday is the target day for 787-9 first flight, time TBD and subject to weather and other factors.

Update, 3:30pm PDT: Bombardier says 9:30 EDT Monday is the scheduled first flight for CSeries. Twitter follow is #CSeries

Original Post:

It looks like it will be a busy week in aviation news. Bombardier plans the first flight of the CSeries tomorrow, weather permitting (it looks good). Exact time hasn’t been announced. Reuters reports Boeing plans the first flight of the 787-9 Tuesday, though we haven’t seen notice from Boeing on this yet. And we’re waiting any day for Lufthansa Airlines to announce its long-awaited wide-body order.

Lufthansa said to split order: Lufthansa Airlines reportedly will split its order for widebody airplanes between Boeing and Airbus, according to this Bloomberg report.

Embraer EJet improvements: Flight Global has this story about the improvements and another about production rates.

Air Force One: The Seattle Post-Intelligencer has a 42 slide photo display of Air Force Ones, past to present, that’s quite interesting.

Update: “Small Airbus:” If you listen carefully, someone at the end of the video notes that the CSeries “looks like a small Airbus 320.” We couldn’t help but chuckle at this.

Embraer selects PW GTF for E-Jet RE; concept clarity comes at last

It’s official: Embraer selected the PW GTF to re-engine the E-175, E-190 and E-195.

In doing so, it looks like the E-170 will be allowed to wither on the vine.

This is a huge win for PW and setbacks for Rolls-Royce, which sorely wanted to win the E-Jet RE for its Advance 2 RR development; and for GE, the incumbent supplier of the CF34 and which was developing the Next Generation variant for the E-Jet.

EMB EJet RE

It’s yet another validation for the GTF. Versions of this engine will power the Mitsubishi MRJ, the Bombardier CSeries, the Irkut MS-21, the Airbus A320neo family and now the E-Jet RE.

It’s a huge comeback for PW, which made a major strategic error in not competing to power the Boeing 737 300/400/500. Boeing continues to use the GE/CFM LEAP engine as its sole-source supply for the 737 MAX, though Boeing seriously evaluated the GTF as well.

Below is EMB’s press release:

Embraer Selects Pratt & Whitney’s PurePower Engines for Second Generation of E-Jets

São José dos Campos, January 8, 2013 – Embraer SA (NYSE: ERJ; BM&FBOVESPA: EMBR3) announced today that Pratt & Whitney´s PurePower® Geared TurbofanTM engines have been selected for its future, second generation of E-Jets, with entry into service planned for 2018. The decision is an important milestone in the program, which is expected to be officially launched later this year.

The new engines – the PW1700G and PW1900G – range in thrust from 15,000 to 22,000 pounds. In combination with new aerodynamically advanced wings, state-of-the-art full fly-by-wire flight controls and other systems evolutions, they will result in double digit improvements in fuel burn, maintenance costs, emissions and external noise.

“We are very happy to expand our partnership with Pratt & Whitney, keeping the E-Jets family as the best solution for our customers, today and in the future”, said Frederico Fleury Curado, President & CEO of Embraer. “The PurePower GTF engines are a great fit to the next generation of our E-Jets and we look forward to another long lasting and successful program with Pratt & Whitney”.

“We are proud that Embraer has recognized the unmatched value of the PurePower engine, and we are committed to supporting a successful launch of the new E-Jet aircraft family,” said Pratt & Whitney President David Hess. “To date, Pratt & Whitney has completed more than 4,200 hours and 12,400 cycles of full engine testing for the PurePower engine family, demonstrating the benefits and reliability of the engine architecture.” Pratt & Whitney is a division of United Technologies Corp. (NYSE: UTX).

The second generation of E-Jets will be a significant step in Embraer´s commitment to continuously invest in this line of commercial jets, complementing a series of ongoing improvements currently being implemented in the existing family, with great benefits to its customers. Embraer´s objective is to offer the best product and maintain its leadership in the 70 to 120 seat market.

100-149 seat market isn’t ‘Bermuda Triangle’ for the right airplanes

A new study released today by AirInsight concludes the oft-maligned 100-149 seat market is viable, and not a ‘Bermuda Triangle,’ if the right airplane is developed to compete within it.

We’re a co-author of the study, Market Analysis of the 100-149 Seat Segment.

Some aerospace consultants, analysts and observers–as well as Boeing’s Randy Tinseth, VP-Marketing–term the segment a Bermuda Triangle because of airplane “failures” in the market. But the fact is that except for Embraer’s E-Jet, the poorly-conceived British Aerospace/Avro Jets and Bombardier’s pending CSeries, there hasn’t been a clean-sheet design since the 1960s. All other aircraft have been derivatives of older designs and offerings of weak and dying manufacturers.

We need to add the Sukhoi Superjet SSJ100 to the clean-sheet design list, but this falls into the weak OEM category.

Today there are six aircraft types and 15 sub-types from five OEMs. (There were seven and 16 until Tuesday, when Boeing finally dropped the 737-600.)

AirInsight has an analysis of the future of the A319/A319neo and 737-700/737-7 Max here.

Here is a run-down.

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Republic’s Bryan Bedford emulates U-Turn Al

The CEO of Republic Airways Holdings seems to be vying to be America’s version of U-Turn Al, Akbar Al-Baker, the CEO of Qatar Airways.

Bedford appears to be engaged in a campaign to raise questions about the Bombardier CSeries, for which he has orders and options for 80 CS300s, much the same way U-Turn Al alternatively praises then complains about the Airbus A350, Boeing 747-8F (ordered by Cargolux, in which Qatar owns a third) and the Boeing 787. U-Turn Al has also alternative praised, condemned then praised the Airbus A320neo, Bombardier CSeries and the Pratt & Whitney GTF.

Keeping up with U-Turn Al’s about-faces has been a dizzying prospect.

Bedford praised the CSeries when ordering it but has become increasingly skeptical of the program once he ordered the A319neo (with CFM LEAP engines) in what was a financial bailout of his ailing company being dragged down by Frontier Airlines. The Airbus order raised questions whether Bedford would cancel the CSeries since the A319neo competes with the CS300. Bedford initially said the order would stand. More recently, he appears to be doing everything to cast a shadow over the program.

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Replacing 757s; Bombardier’s Scott and Delta; pricing engines

AirInsight, in a burst of prolific writing, posted three pieces of note today:

Odds and Ends: Delta’s small jet deferral and other things

  • Delta Air Lines deferred the highly anticipated order for the 100-150 seat airplane due to worries about taking on too much debt in the current economic environment. Multiple sources say Bombardier’s CSeries had been favored over the Embraer E-195.
  • Delta’s RFP from Boeing didn’t include the re-engined airplane because at the time of the RFP, the 737RE didn’t exist. But we are 99% certain conversion rights will be in the final contract.
  • The Airbus A321neo does have its promised EIS until 2017, and Airbus was unlikely to be able to offer production slots for this model until 2019. Delta wants all aircraft delivered by 2018 and Airbus couldn’t meet this with the A321 Legacy, either. Plus the price was higher.
  • At 10:50am PDT our readership YTD exceeded all of 2010.

Delta to order 737-900s, small airplane order deferred

Bloomberg News just tweeted Delta Air Lines is to order 100 Boeing 737-900s. WE have three sources saying the same, though without the number.

Boeing won the deal over the Airbus A320/320neo due to earlier delivery positions and price, we are told.

Update, 9:50am PDT: We heard last week that Delta may defer ordering the 100-150 seat airplane and while we’ve been working to confirm this, Flightblogger beat us to it.

UPDATE 12:46 PM ET: CONFIRMED – Delta will order 100 737-900ER aircraft, the largest single order for the type. Further, industry sources confirm that a selection of a smaller narrowbody that pitted the CSeries against the Embraer E-195 has been delayed, as the airline does not see the same level of urgency to replace its 757s starting in 2013. The airline’s aircraft evaluations excluded consideration of the re-engined narrowbodies from Airbus and Boeing. FULL STORY SHORTLY