Embraer is researching ways to launch a new turboprop aircraft. The plane would be developed through a venture planned with Boeing, which the manufacturer is already closely aligned with.
A natural addition
Embraer Commercial Aviation’s Chief Executive John Slattery spoke with Reuters about how this plan is in line with his company’s vision.
“It sits in our target market, which we have always been clear is below 150 seats, and will have natural adjacency to the E2 offering,” Slattery told Reuters.
Additionally, Embraer is in talks with General Electric, Rolls-Royce and Pratt & Whitney Canada. The company is in discussions with them regarding an engine planned turboprop.
Currently, the ATR-72 dominates the turboprop market. The plane can seat 72–78 passengers and over 1,000 of them have been built since 1988. ATR’s dominance could be impacted if Boeing and Embraer enter with a new direct rival.
A useful piece of equipment
Turboprops are helpful for airlines to reach people in isolated regions. Furthermore, they are better at reaching certain areas with sensitive terrains than several jets.
Slattery affirms that Embraer would not go ahead with the venture by itself due to the billions of dollars that would be needed to fund it.
“The amount of balance sheet required for a new state-of-the-art commercial aircraft is of an order of magnitude that we simply don’t have the appetite for, outside of the joint-venture environment,” he said, as per the report.
Ambitious plans on the cards
Boeing is looking to take majority control of Embraer’s E-Jets. However, this venture has been placed on hold while the European Commission concludes its investigations.
Boeing is planning to gain 80 percent of Embraer’s commercial stock while the Brazilian company independently maintains its military operations. Although the EU has concerns over competition as both businesses produce similar-sized aircraft.
Nonetheless, if the two manufacturers go ahead with the plans for a new turboprop, then they will be adding more smaller units to their fleet. These two firms are not the only planemakers appreciating the value of the turboprop. Ilyushin is preparing for the maiden flight of its new Il-114-300 this year.
There could be a renaissance for turboprop aircraft over the next few years. There has been speculation that the type could assist in the fight against climate change. The implementation of the planes on shorter routes could offer greater fuel efficiency than jet airliners.
Simple Flying reached out to Embraer about how long it envisions a project like this would take to come into fruition. An Embraer spokesperson shared that the company is two years into a three-year process evaluating the project.
If it was launched soon after the process is over then it could be available as early as late 2025 or early 2026. However, the spokesperson stated that there are still many variables to consider.
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