Embraer is pondering a new, 2,000nm airplane in the 130-150 seat class. Here is the Flight Global story.
The interesting thing about this is that Bank of America’s Ronald Epstein characterizes the CSeries as having too much range with 2,950nm, which gives it US trans-continental operations. In fact, Bombardier offers two versions: the 2,950nm range XT and the 2,200nm standard.
The EMB aircraft, which has long been discussed, would be a 2×3 configuration slightly larger than the CSeries in capacity. This begs the question how it can be a lighter airplane, as Epstein suggests–will the lesser range mean that much airframe weight is eliminated to offset the larger capacity?
A 2,000nm range will be sufficient for one-stop US trans-Con service and most feeder service within Europe. Like the CSeries, a new Embraer airplane will be more efficient than the compromise technology mating the A319 or 737-700 with a new engine. But as with the challenge faced by Bombardier, Embraer will face the pricing power and family of airplanes that can be offered by Airbus and Boeing.
As Boeing prepares to define just what its 737RE is, the balance of the year will be very interesting indeed.
Less range means less fuel means less MTOW means a smaller and lighter wing means less structural weight. So a 2000nm aircraft could be slightly larger but lighter than the CSeries.
But range is less costly these days. Efficient engines require less fuel, and the additional wing area needed for a longer range is limited. I would think the additional fuel burn is less than 5% on a standard mission.
then again, fuel isn’t getting any cheaper – so the cost of range (and weight) is on a rise. a rise more like an Space Shuttle than an airliner take-off
I wonder just how much empty weight difference there is between the standard C-Series aircraft and the ER versions. That could be a telling parametric, as the standard versions have only 200 nm range more than the Embraer jets being considered. It would seem foolish to design an aircraft that is not fully optimised for maximum performance from the word go yet that is what is being not so subtly suggested by Mr. Epstein.
I have been unable to find any breakdown as to the number of standard vs ER models which have been ordered. That too could be a telling indicator on whether Bombardier has made a good decision on creating a longer range version. It was interesting that another (not so credible, in my opinion) blog had blasted Bombardier about a year ago for the fact that the C-Series, even the ER, was not a truly transcontinental aircraft. I have not read this blog for some time now as one must now have a special code in order to be able to read the pearls of wisdom coming from there.
Embraer had success following Bombardier on the RJ, and then they jumped ahead with the E-Jets while Bombardier stumbled with their follow up to the RJ success. I do not see them as being in the catbird seat, as they are now years behind all of the competitors. It did not hurt them when they imitated the RJ, but will they get away with it now that Boeing and Airbus are in the mix?
2 more points:
1. Embraer seems to be now going more directly against the 737/A320 series of aircraft, something which Bombardier has been more circumspect about doing.
2. Embraer has never before dealt with RSPs. This factor cannot be ignored if they do consider going this route with their new aircraft.
I’m not an expert, but as far as I know Embraer already produces a plane with this capacity. ERJ-195 has 2.200 nm range and may transport 124 PAX. By the way, there’s a long range version of 190, capable of 2400 nm and 114 PAX. So, what is the point? Why should Embraer invest in a new family? My first (and simplistic) impression is that a sustaining investment in current line of products may mantain these planes competitives in the market segment they are designed for.
This article corroborates with my thoughts:
I think we have to let this RR graph sink to understand where Epstein/ Embraer thinking is coming from
If the CS300 is overly capable, then a simple stretch to the CS500 should yield a plane in the right spot for capacity and range. Bombardier has a 10 year jump on Airbus and Boeing delivering a 150 seat NSA to market. The CS500 could be the sleeper that becomes the industry standard at 150 seats.
As for Embraer, the 2-3 cross section is a large commitment. They still have the option to look at 3-3 or 2-2-2 with potential for growth. If less frontal area is worth a few percentage points, then 2-3 is good and 2-2 is better. A stretched E-195 with new wings and gear could carry 140 in 35 rows. The 757-300 has low CASM, so maybe a long stretch is the answer.
Only the XR versions of the CSeries have 2,950NM or so. The design point seems to be around 2,200NM, if you still believe in single-point designs to begin with.