Boeing-Embraer venture in response to Airbus-Bombardier? Don’t count on it

Discussion
No Sale

Boeing, like Airbus, offers an airplane that once was popular but which has seen the market move up to the next level. The 737-700 sold very well, with the USA’s Southwest Airlines the most prolific buyer. But Southwest now prefers the 737-800 and its successor, the 737-8.

Southwest ordered 30 737-7s for its difficult airports, such as Chicago Midway and Burbank (CA). But that’s it.

WestJet of Canada ordered 15, but deferred delivery to a later date.

Canada Jetlines, a start-up, ordered five -7s. Air Lease Corp. ordered five. A Chinese airline announced an order for 10, but these don’t show up on Boeing’s website and may not have been firmed up—or they could be buried in “Unidentified” orders.

It is believed Boeing has about 66 orders for the 7 MAX, but the company doesn’t break out the sub-types on its website.

Airbus’ A319 was a popular seller, but like the 737-700, it’s time has passed. The A319neo, the competitor to the 7 MAX, has sold about the same number as the 7 MAX.

Airbus’ Bombardier deal includes the CS300, which competes with the A319neo, and the smaller CS100.

This fills the Airbus product gap in the 100-150 seat sector.

Embraer can’t do the same for Boeing.

E190/195-E2

The E190-E2 seats 97 passengers in standard two-class configuration, just outside the 100-seat sector. The E195-E2 seats 120 passengers in two-class. This compares with 126 seats for the 737-700 and 138 seats for the 737-7.

Both E2s are smaller than the competing CS100 (109 seats two-class) and CS300 (130 seats), using the same seat pitches.

A commercial tie-up between Boeing and Embraer doesn’t fill the former’s product gap to compete with the Airbus/Bombardier venture.

No new airplane

When the successors to the A320 and 737 families come, sometime in the next decade, Airbus has the CS100 and CS300 to fill the lower end of the market. It could also launch the oft-discussed CS500, which would have 154 seats (somewhat smaller than the A320 and 737-8 at 156-160 and 162-172 seats respectively). The CS500 would have a range of about 3,000nm, somewhat less than the CS300.

Boeing doesn’t have this option.

While the E195-E2 checks in at 120 seats, the range is 2,600nm—well short of the CSeries and the 737-7.

A brand new airplane would have to be launched if Embraer were to fill the 125-150-seat gap. EMB isn’t about to launch a single-airplane product.

Nor is it likely EMB would launch a new airplane program in 2023-2024; the last of the E2s, the E175-E2, EIS is now scheduled for 2021-22. The E190-E2 EIS is 2018 and the E195-E2 is planned for 2019.

EMB is unlikely to compete with itself on an airplane program that is only a few years old.

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