Pontifications: Why Embraer downplayed range of EJet

By Scott Hamilton

June 18, 2018, © Leeham News: Bjorn Fehrm on Thursday wrote (behind the paywall) that Embraer seems to be selling the E190-E2 short when it comes to range.

Embraer’s published range is 2,850nm. But Bjorn discovered that the range is truly 3,250nm, fully 14% more than the advertised range.

I laughed out loud when Bjorn told me of this discrepancy.

Why would Embraer short-change the E190-E2’s range?

The answer was obvious to me.

Boeing-Bombardier trade complaint

When Boeing filed its trade complaint with the US government against Bombardier in 2017, the company defined the parameters of the aircraft as having 100 seats or more and a range of 2,900nm or more.

The C Series fit this description.

The E190 and E195 fit the seating definition. The published ranges did not.

It was a transparent attempt to exclude the EJets from the government’s evaluation of aircraft that compete in the 100-150 seat category.

Excluding the EJet ignored the commercial facts that the CSeries and EJets competed in campaigns up to the date of filing the complaint and in campaigns afterwards.

In January 2018, days before the US International Trade Commission was to issue its decision in the case, Flightglobal published an interview with an Embraer executive, who said the E190-E2 range was 2,900nm.

Bombardier pounced. The previous December, news leaked that Boeing and Embraer were in merger talks. Bombardier requested that the ITC reopen the record now that Embraer acknowledged the 2,900nm range. The Canadian OEM—expecting an adverse ruling from the ITC—wanted to include the EJet and charged that Boeing had been playing games by creating a definition that initially excluded the Embraer airplanes.

EMB was quick to walk back the range claim. It revised the range to 2,880nm, Flightglobal reported.

The ITC surprised everyone by ruling Boeing had not been harmed by the C Series sale to Delta Air Lines, the target of Boeing’s trade complaint.

Imagine the hubbub had the E190-E2’s range of 3,250nm been known at the time of the trade complaint. The EJet would have been caught up in the filings.

All that aside, the range now puts the E190-E2 on a par with the CS100 in range, though it is slightly smaller in passenger capacity.

Boeing’s 777X backlog

Reuters reported last week that Etihad is considering cancelling or deferring its Boeing 777X orders.

Although the news agency headlined the story as an Exclusive, it wasn’t. LNC has been on this story for 18 months. See these stories from May 9, from August, from April 2017  and from January 2017.

Etihad is the weakest of the Big Three Middle Eastern carriers. The May 9 story is all about the airline and its dilemma in restructuring its fleet, including possibly canceling or deferring orders, including the 777X and the 787.

LNC examined wide-body production rates May 14 that also referred to Etihad’s desire to cancel or defer.


54 Comments on “Pontifications: Why Embraer downplayed range of EJet

  1. Scott,
    Embraer marketed the E190E2 as having 2800nm from the (official) start in 2013. I don’t think they did this with a trade complaint from Boeing a few years later already in mind. Looks more like a conservative approach…

    • underpromising like that at the start of a program is smart.

      understating known range capability when you have completed dev and test to that degree is stupid (unless of course you are colluding with Boeing who you already have a co-marketing agreement with to ensure that your competitor gets screwed in a trade complaint when your nearly identical capability aircraft doesn’t)

      seems to me like BBD would have a case for a criminal fraud complaint.

      • It would be interesting to find out for sure.

        But that would be Airbus me thinks not BBD.

        In legal cases withholding of documents is the worst things you can do, what that does in an ITC case?

      • How can this be fraud, airframers state performance given particular configurations. There are no “official” configurations to use. Embraer simply used a dense 1class configuration, a two class configuration gives more range. BBD uses a passenger + luggage weight about 20lb above that used by Boeing and AB, cutting that back would also give more range. It is up to any investor to normalize these numbers, perhaps by contracting Bjorn.

      • bilbo,

        It seems like you’re being rushed, wicked with all these adjectives. You should know that there is no standardized way to disseminate range data. The figures released by Embraer were consistent with those presented since the launch in 2013. In fact, the company has achieved improvements above initial promises due to excellent engine performance, good weight control and advanced aerodynamics.

        Where most people would see Embraer in a cautious attitude, avoiding creating exaggerated expectations, you see only bad intentions. I suggest you spend some time studying the tactics employed by BBD to omit illegal government aid.

        • @jbeeko & @caerthal – when your business partner uses your very carefully constructed understated range performance to set the threshold for capability in a lawsuit against your direct competitor, and you go out of your way to play along, that is fraud, both on your part and your business partner’s.

          as you see above, I said caution early in development makes good business sense: underpromise, overdeliver. but when you are largely done with test and dev, you definitely know the final capabilities of your aircraft, and to not make clear to customers and the world the full capabilities of your aircraft is bad business.

          if Embraer, even once, told a customer that the EMB-190E2 could do >2900 miles range, then they were at a minimum complicit in Boeings bald faced attempt to wipe out their direct competitor. if they failed to report that during discovery for the trade case, that is fraud.

          and don’t pretend Boeing’s extortion of $10B in tax breaks from the state of Washington isn’t illegal government aid. or the EXIM bank (which since Airbus gets similar advantages from euro equivalents I don’t really care about) or federal export subsidies, or the government paying Boeing to do aerodynamics & materials research, that Boeing then owns the rights to.

          • Agreed. Not a clue on legality but it sure would have been quite the whoppeee if the case had gone the other way then they showed the real figures.

            Clearly sand bagging.

    • @Aeroturbo: I don’t suggest EMB did that. What we do know is that EMB, during the trade complaint, said the range was 2,900nm then walked it back to 2,880nm. By then it seems more was known than revealed.

  2. Thanks Scott, maybe they have been naughty (as was suspected at the time) but still good news, the 190E2 could proof to be a good all rounder at a competitive price.

    What provision for cargo has been made for the 3250Nm range or is it only pax, luggage, fuel, etc.?

    End of the day it indicates that the 190E2 will have good range (2500+Nm) also carrying some cargo or have useful range when operating from hot and/or high airports.

  3. There looks to be a veritable cascade of deferrals and cancellations waiting on the B777x. Etihad seems virtually certain to walk away, Lufthansa are probably going to push back and cancel some. As for Emirates and Qatar we will have to wait and see but both have major issues to resolve. Then you have Singapore and Cathay not in the best of health.

    Boeing still have to make it work to the level of the A35K, a plane that seems to grow and grow in capability on entry to service. There are a lot of low mileage, one careful owner B77w’s out there and at present only a small change in the fleet management of Emirates where they decide to hold onto their aircraft for 3-5 years more and the whole programme looks very thin indeed.

    A lot has been said of the A330neo not gaining traction in the market but its major saving grace is that it has minimal funds sunk into the neo. the B77x is going to be an expensive beast and needs substantial sales to cover the iteration. The B777x cannot afford to be a dud given the aircraft it is replacing (the B748) also proved a costly failure.

    • sowerbob : the 777x replaces the very successful -300er (841 orders, 784 delivered), which itself replaced the successful 747-400 (694 built). Replacements are more about seat cost than exact seating match.

      • Erm yes and no. I was being slightly provocative. The upscale in size seems to have impacted just when the market is rejecting that notion. The A35k is a direct replacement for the B77w in terms of size and for the most part capability and the lack of ‘lift’ suggested seems to have been addressed by the significant uplift in range/carrying capacity in recent weeks. I agree that the market is ‘fungible’ in terms of seating capacity but the B777x seems to be on the wrong side of current demand at present and although will be a fine aircraft (there are a lot of them about) risks strong headwinds over the next few years and possibly beyond.

        • The so called failed 747 is at the same rate of production as the A380.

          Air Freight is going gangbusters, orders for A380 not so much.

          It will be interesting to see which 4 engine VLA is left standing.

          • It will indeed, not that I mentioned the A380, as it is not in the same size bracket. Obviously based on what I have said it is also at great risk in this market, greater even.

            Airbus are going to do their utmost to push any decision out forever into the future on the A380 as you know. I thought the B748 was being on life support to ensure there was productive capacity for Air Force 1.

            This whole sector of the market appears to be a sad and sorry tale of woe in the near term at least but I fear the B777x is extremely vulnerable given all the factors outlined above, size, entry into service date, customer base etc etc. We shall find out soon enough.

          • As an older timer would love to see the 747 “go for ever”, as a youngster I almost cried when the 727-100 went out of service with then my local airline.

            But a very outside chance, an 380-900″NEO-etc” could just be there in 20 years from now?

          • ” I thought the B748 was being on life support to ensure there was productive capacity for Air Force 1.”

            Those are already build, they decided to buy two 747-8 that were supposed to go to a bankrupt airline and were stored.

          • @Julian: And what makes it interesting, those B748s I think we designated for the Russians! I wonder if T-rump will be around when they come into service… At least I think he got them for a little better price…

          • I’m sure the CIA has them fully bugged

    • LH most likely will replace the 747-8’s and 747-400’s with the 777-9’s. The 747-8’s might be converted into freghters for LH Cargo unless they can use them as trade-ins for the 777’s.
      The market for 777-9 and A350-1000 will come as the normal upscaling of capacity happens and slots at preferred departure times are not available. The question is then how big, how soon and how flexible will the new A350-1000 and 777-9 be, will they tolerate a good mix of flights between 2hrs to 17hrs flights as the 777-300ER does today. It is a change that the new Engines are made only for very long range flights and don’t like the cycling?

      • Any solid evidence that LH is planning to replace 747-8s or convert them into freighters? First time I hear such rumors!

    • All the airlines you mention will start replacing their A380 next decade and the 779 will be the perfect candidate for that.

      • The biz class bar might work but try fit the showers and its plumbing into the 777-9… .
        The A380 is todays equivalent of the Boeing 337 statocruisers with bar and sleeping beds. Not that economical to operate except for a few routes but a nice ride.

        • But they will not have any other alternative assuming Airbus won’t offer a 380 replacement . The 779 will be the largest modern aircraft around.

          • Keep in mind that 737-200 continue to fly. In some cases its because it was gravel approved (STC) and pax ops.

            Other its a good freighter.

            If there is enough incentive those so called obsolete aircraft are kept going.

            One operator up here is running DC-9 variants (gravel not as much an issue with rear mounted engines)

    • “There looks to be a veritable cascade of deferrals and cancellations waiting on the B777x. Etihad seems virtually certain to walk away, Lufthansa are probably going to push back and cancel some. As for Emirates and Qatar we will have to wait and see but both have major issues to resolve. Then you have Singapore and Cathay not in the best of health.”

      Most airlines that have the B777X on order already operate the A350 or have it on order with deliveries starting before the B777X. The exceptions are Emirates and ANA.
      IMHO having both the A350 and B777X does not make much sense for (most) airlines. This leaves the B777X program vulnerable.

      Does anyone have an idea what airlines are looking at the B777X for future orders?

      • End of the day the 777X is a reworked/NEO of the 77W with good wing, could this catch up with it as we see with the 787 vs 330NEO?

        AB is actually in a good position with the A350, the 787-10 can’t be stretched without new wing etc, an 778 shrink won’t work. AB could do a A350-950 between the 359 and 35K with either the 359’s wing etc for medium haul (~7000Nm) or 35K’s wing etc with extreme range (9000+Nm).

        An 359+ could give BA sleepless nights, the market for 400+ seat aircraft most likely not very profitable?

    • Alternatively, you could get to ~2880 with a payload of not quite 10,000 kg if you use the max cruise curve. I’m guessing this is what they used. They list the single-class capacity as 104, and 104*95 (I think EMB uses 95 kg/210 lbs as their standard per-passenger weight) equals 9880 kg. It’s not fraudulent, but it is peculiar.

    • Use tinyurl.com for those really long links, it’s easy and free! 🙂

  4. At the time, I thought that Boeing had chosen that range specifically to exclude the E190E2 .It’s incredibly cynical that it now appears that they doctored the range instead.Future trade complaint victims should take careful note.

  5. The prospect of Embraer colluding with Boeing back in 2013 seems pretty far fetched. They’ve been quite deliberate and careful in how they have pitched and developed the “profit hunter”.

    I suspect the 77x and 350-1000 will both pick up some orders/conversions this summer. Rolls, however, doesn’t look to be in a position to ramp up XWB deliveries much, regardless of any demand uptick the next few years.

    • Not about 2013 – what is known when Boeing filed the case.

      • With Boeing secretly (or now openly) backing Embraer in order to destroy the CSeries,the UA 737-700s offered at $22M ea, the BS complaints, the US trade bullying against Canada, that Airbus partnership was definitely a must, no questions about that.

        I don’t see who will ever attempt entering the duopoly market.

        • no “free market” player will enter aerospace going forward (I put quotes because this is already a mined field awash in government money ad hypocritical trade rules that exclude any military subsidies). So, the western world has thrown in the towel on free competition. Exactly, NO BANK? will ever bankroll development of a competitor. So, we have our pants on the floor and the only ones entering the game will be state-sponsored programs coming from Russia+China. With our pants down. Boeing said “never again the same Airbus mistake”. Look where they are now. Airbus bought the Canadian baby that still can barely build 30 planes PER YEAR (even now). This is NOT my parents’ capitalism. FAR from it. Do not let gov come anywhere near Silicon Valley, they’ll screw it up too.

        • Ex Military Engr,

          You seem to have trouble observing events with a bit of objectivity and impartiality. So the CS100 was not sold to Delta at a price below cost, but the 737-7 was, even with a totally depreciated line, with huge scale effect and productive experience! What you characterize as collusion, other companies like Sukhoi, Mitsubishi and Embraer will call it cooperation with Boeing.

          By the way, it is clear that Airbus, which dominates through the ATR the turboprop market, has never talked about it with BBD, which is the other relevant competitor.

          As for the American commercial bulling Canada is in good company, along with Brazil, Mexico, Europe, China and Japan. It is the old whining …

          • As you well know, the CS100 doesn’t compete with anything Boeing sells, and that was the ITC conclusion too. (And no Boeing products were ever offered in this Delta RFP).

            I don’t know how much Delta will pay for its CS100 (of a derated version with diminished range), but you definitely know that early planes are more expensive to build and less attractive (early program risks + bugs) to airlines.

            The B787 is a good exemple, where the first 500 units were apparently sold below costs…

            Anyways, in book $22M 737-700 is definitely predatory pricings.

            Really glad Airbus enters that CSeries partnership in a few days. And hoping a CS500 (light/shorter range) launch in a few years, with unbeatable CASM. (That will then be exactly in the 737 Max8 market)

  6. The 77W is quoted to have a range of 7400Nm with 396 pax, read the 350-1000 is now quoted to have a range of 8400Nm (366 pax?), see link.

    Was actually wondering how many 77W routes are longer than 6000Nm.? When demand comes for 77W replacements AB could do an 35K+ (4-5m stretch) with ~400 pax and range of around 7000Nm with out many changes required.

    With an OEW of potentially 20T or so less than the 779 for an 350K+ it could get more than it’s fair share of the market. The 350K’s range is now approaching that of the 778, with the same seat capacity but with 20-30T (?) lower OEW it could prove to be a very competent aircraft.


    • B & A use very different assumptions when calculating their advertised range numbers. B generally is much more conservative resulting in lower advertised ranges.

      take a look at the A350-900ULR for example, they had to deactivate the front cargo hold entirely (the vast majority of cargo space on that plane) in order to get 173 people (a farcically low number for the size of that airplane and no first class because the seats are too heavy, just biz and low density coach) to their advertised range. whereas Qatar configures the “same size” 777-200LR @ 259 seats, Emirates at 266, Delta at 291 (who then fly it 8400+ miles at that pax load)

    • This sounds like the 350-1100 concept that has been around for a while and it does become more credible as the range of the base model increases.

      However, it all depends on whether the sweet spot in wide body capacity remains at 350 pax or climbs to 400 pax as Boeing would have us believe.

      • For some reason did Singapore Airlines say no thanks to the A350-1100 as presented and ordered the 777-9, same as Emirates. One can only speculate how the Heavy and Aluminum hull (Al-Li) 777 with new carbon wings coould beat the “all Composite A350-1100”. Probably has payload and range numbers an influence. Airbus maybe have to make a stretch with custom designed wing with RR Advance Engines to really beat the 777 as the GE9X is of the next engine generation like RR Advance. It might come with the Qantas Sunset offer and be standard BOM for the -1000 and -1100?

  7. There’s a huge risk at B777x – in fact it’s a orphan, it’s just the 9x seeing sales.
    8x plays a very niche role.

    IAG (BA) will order the 9x, I’m pretty sure, as out of Heathrow they need the size.
    That ME3 orders though – Etihad might settle on a fleet based on B787 and A350, as without Alitalia and Air Berlin they cant fill the 9x.
    They might postpone some A350s and maybe some B787s too, but both orders are already in production or in fleet, so it’s less likley Etihad can get ot of these.
    Qatar is, with the blockade in a dangerous spot – that will show impact.
    Emirates seems strong, but parks planes – maybe another 150 large WBs might be too much.
    And if Iran and Saudi Arabia go for it, that whole model breaks down.

    • 777-300ER was also an orphan just as much as the 777-9. only 59 -200LRs ever got sold to what 841 -300ERs?

      • The B77w (with larger wing) was just available 2004 – 10 years after.

        There are more than 500 B777 – 200 and its versions deliverd.

        The B77W was never an orphan.

        • 777-w was a re-engine, wing enhancement, MLG and MTOW redo. the resulting aircraft was very different from the base 777-200/300.

          777-9 is a minor stretch, rewing and re-engine. yes it is _more_ different from the 300ER than the 300ER/200LR were from the base 777s

          but it is no more an orphan than the 300ER (which at the time was seen as enormously risky because of the engine sole source to what was perceived at the time to be the weaker of the 3 baseline engines)

  8. It would have been really interesting if the true range of the Ejet had been addressed by the lawyers and possibly a nice little earner for leeham. Did anyone think of contesting this at the time?

  9. ‘This is even more than the capacity of the -1000 (158,791l), with Obe explaining that “there’s fuel in the -1000 [centre tank] that we are not using”.’

    Does anyone else find this quote attributed to Francois Obe on https://www.flightglobal.com/news/articles/iberia-to-take-first-a350-900-with-wing-twist-449531/ interesting ?

    Does the 1000 have more than 8,400 nmi range ? Is a 1000-ULR really a contender for project Sunrise ? An objective comparison between the 900-ULR / 1000-ULR / 777-8 would be very interesting – Bjorn ?

    • He also mentions this: “This enables the ULR’s centre-tank capacity to be raised by around 24,000l over the -900’s 140,450l to 165,000l.”

      The 1000 (according to wikipedia) has 158,791 L capacity. This would imply there is a possible extra capacity of 6,209 L in the centre tank.
      That would be increase range with around 500 NM.

      Airbus would need to improve MTOW of the 1000 to be able to utilize this possible extra range without having to lower seat count.

      • I suspect that the 158,791 L capacity is without moving around the internals as they have done with the 900.

        If that is the case, then as you say, if Airbus were to increase the MTOW, it’s very likely that they would be able to find possibly as much as 800 NM to achieve a SYD-LHR flight, but would this also be at the expense of cargo ? A 1000-ULR should still be a lot lighter than a 777-8, cost less, and be available sooner.

        Is it really in Airbus or Boeing’s interests to create a new variant for what will be a very limited market. Apart from Qantas, who else would need to fly 9200 NM ? Certainly not the ME3 carriers. Although an A350 might be a better choice for DXB-AKL than a 787.

        I’m still not convinced Airbus should have created the 900-ULR just for Singapore Airlines, perhaps others will go for different, long routes with just business, and premium economy.

        • According to the following quote/article the 900ULR is minimal change.

          “For us, it’s really just a -900,” Marisa Lucas-Ugena, Airbus’ A350 marketing director, said Thursday in an interview. “The only thing that is really specific for the ULR is the additional fuel. And even on that, we are using the space we already have. It’s really just a minor evolution of that system with additional piping and additional venting.”

          The changes to make an A350-900 into the ULR have “no impact” on the production lines in Toulouse, France, Lucas-Ugena added, with the manufacturing time the same for both versions. Airbus aims to churn out 10 A350s a month by year’s end, and currently has 832 orders for the A350 family.

          Read more: http://www.traveller.com.au/airbus-a350900ulr-why-only-seven-of-the-worlds-longest-range-airline-are-being-built-h10tuq#ixzz5J0JGn04g

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