“Scope clauses stop aircraft development”

By Bjorn Fehrm Subscription required. Introduction October 16, 2016, ©. Leeham Co: “Scope clauses stop aircraft development.” The words are those of Rodrigo de Souza, Marketing manager of Embraer Commercial Aircraft when we spoke at the sidelines of the recent ISTAT conference in Barcelona. De Souza made the comment when we discussed how the new E-Jet E175-E2 would fit with US scope clauses. It doesn’t.
e175-e2

Figure 1. Embraer’s E175-E2, which gives an 11% improvement in fuel burn (the additional 5% is from 76 seats going to 80). Source: Embraer.

The problem is the limit on Maximum Take-Off Weight (MTOW). “I can understand the other restrictions of a scope clause but not the Max Take-Off Weight restriction,” de Souza said. “It doesn’t make any sense; it just stops new and more efficient aircraft getting into the market. What relevance does it have in protecting mainline pilots from the regional operators taking over routes?” Summary:
  • The MTOW part of scope clauses hits all regional manufacturers.
  • Embraer is not the worst hit; their present E175 is compliant and selling well.
  • Mitsubishi is worse off. Its entire backlog of 240 MRJ90 is non-compliant. And some of its major customers fly for airlines with scope clauses.
  • What is the solution? Why doesn’t scope clauses adapt to modern times?

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