The Embraer E190-E2 vs Airbus A220 – Which Plane Is Better?

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The Airbus A220 and the Embraer E190-E2 are small aircraft that have a big role in the world. Flown around the globe, these roughly 90-120 seater jets serve regional routes efficiently and are favorites with passengers. Diving into these aircraft, Simple Flying now compares the two.

A220 E2
Simple Flying takes a look at the A220 vs. E2. Photo: Joanna Bailey – Simple Flying

How will we compare these two aircraft?

As we have done with other articles, we will pretend that we are an airline that is deciding between the two options. This means we will be looking at what makes economic sense and will generate as much profit as possible, rather than what is simply the best passenger experience, easiest for the crew to fly, or just a prestigious brand.

Additionally, there are multiple variants of each aircraft. To keep this fair, we will be examining the following.

  • Embraer – E190-E2 and E195-E2
  • Airbus – A220-100 and A220-300
Airbus-a220-rain-causes-engine-shutdown
The Airbus A220 comes in two variants. Photo: Airbus

There is a smaller variant of the E2, the E175. However, it would not be fair to compare it with a bigger Airbus plane. Not to mention, the E175-E2 has not yet come to market and will not until 2023. Additionally, there are rumors of a further stretch of the A220 (dubbed the A220-500), but that places it into 737 competition territory (which you can read all about here)

Without further ado, let us dive in.

Embraer E2 family vs. Airbus A220 family

 Embraer E190-E2Embraer E195-E2Airbus A220-100Airbus A220-300
Seating (standard configuration)97 (9J + 20W + 68Y)120 (12J + 24W + 84Y)100-120120-150
Maximum Seating (28" seats)114146135160
Length36.24 m (118 ft 11 in.)41.60 m (136 ft 5.76 in)35.0 m (114 ft 9 in)38.7 m (127 ft)
Wingspan33.72 m (110 ft 7.6 in)35.12 m (115 ft 2.7 in)35.1 m (115 ft 1 in)35.1 m (115 ft 1 in)
Height10.95 m (35 ft 11.2 in)10.78 m (35 ft 4.4 in)11.5 m (37 ft 8 in)11.5 m (37 ft 8 in)
Maximum Takeoff Weight (MTOW)56,400 kg (124,340 lbs)61,500 kg (135,585 lbs)63,100 kg (139,000 lbs)69,900 kg (154,000 lbs)
Maximum Landing Weight (MLW)49,050 kg (108,136 lbs)54,000 kg (119,049 lbs)54,200 kg (119,500 lbs)60,600 kg (144,500 lbs)
Range5,278 km (2,850 nm)4,815 km (2,600 nm)6,390 km (3,450 nm)6,297 km (3,400 nm)
Takeoff Field Length (MTOW)1,615 m (5,299 ft)1,805 m (5,922 ft)1,463 m (4,800 ft)1,890 m (6,200 ft)
Landing Field Length (MLW)1,215 m (3,987 ft)1,290 m (4,232 ft)1,387 m (4,550 ft)1,509 m (4,950 ft)
Maximum Cruise Speed Mach 0.82Mach 0.82Mach 0.82Mach 0.82

Already, by looking above, we can see that there are some very close calls, so let’s go into a bit more detail and see what we can discover.

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Passengers

When it comes to passenger count, it looks like Airbus has beat out Embraer. The smaller A220-100 seats as many as 135 passengers but usually ends up being between 100 and 120 passengers, while the E190-E2 can comfortably seat just around 100 passengers with a maximum capacity of 114.

The Airbus A220 is in a 2-3 configuration. Photo: Delta Air Lines

The A220-300 seats between 120 and 150 with a maximum capacity of 160 passengers, but the Embraer E195-E2 maxes out at 146 and traditionally has around 120 passengers onboard.

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While Airbus wins on capacity, there is another thing to realize in terms of configuration. Traditional premium Embraer E190 cabins are outfitted in a 1-2 configuration while coach is in a 2-2 configuration. The Airbus A220, meanwhile, traditionally can get premium passengers in a 2-2 configuration and coach passengers in a 2-3 configuration.

The lack of middle seats on the Embraer makes plenty of passengers happy, but the A220 also has pretty wide seats. So, really, it depends.

Embraer E195-E2 cabin
The Embraer E2s are in a 2-2 configuration. Photo: Getty Images

Of course, airlines will decide the interior configuration of the aircraft. Depending on what product each carrier chooses, an A220-100 might seat 110, or it might seat 125. The A220-300 might seat 130 or have room for 145.

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This is where passengers get to decide which aircraft they like better. While some might be inclined to choose an airline that flies one type or another, carriers will generally choose a few different metrics.

Winner: Draw. The E2-Jets win with no middle seats, but the A220 has wider seats and seats more people.

Range

In terms of how far the aircraft can travel, this is where things get interesting.

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airbaltic, uk quarantine, London flights
airBaltic flies the A220 on some longer routes. Photo: Getty Images

The A220-100 beats out the E190-E2 by over 1,000 kilometers while the A220-300 beats out the E195-E2 by about 1,400 km. While some may remember the E2 jet that flew a transatlantic hop on a delivery, the A220-100 can conduct traditional commercial transatlantic operations, though to a limited number of destinations. The E2s cannot do it without severe payload restrictions, which would make the flights basically infeasible.

Embraer E2
Helvetic Airways flew an E2 on a transatlantic delivery flight. Photo: Embraer

Winner: Airbus A220

How much do they cost?

List prices are a difficult point of comparison. Airbus has stopped publishing its list price because there are no fixed prices. Airlines negotiate with the manufacturer when it comes to purchasing an aircraft. Carriers that make large purchases, say of 50 or 60 or more jets, tend to get bigger discounts on an aircraft.

Relating to the Airbus A220, Boeing actually got in a spat with the aircraft type back when it was a Bombardier CSeries. Boeing had a problem with the cost of the aircraft and asked for a tariff to be put on the aircraft, of which US-based Delta Air Lines was a major customer. Boeing’s motion failed, and Airbus ended up purchasing the line.

Delta Airlines A220
Delta’s Airbus A220 order ruffled some feathers. Photo: Getty Images

In some cases, the E190-E2 could be cheaper than the A220, and in others, it could be the other way around. As such, these deals happen in boardrooms, and every airline might not get the same price. There are plenty of factors in play.

Winner: Depends on the order

In terms of orders, the A220 is far more popular. Airbus has 94 firm orders for the smaller -100, and 548 for the larger -300. The E2 has hit 173 total aircraft orders, which is far less than the A220.

Embraer Getty
Embraer has been trying to sell the E2, but it has not gone as well as they had hoped. Photo: Getty Images.

However, popularity is not always the best choice for airlines. When Delta Air Lines, for example, ordered the A220, when airBaltic ordered the A220 (back then it was the CSeries), they were not choosing a well-known and well-loved airliner, but rather going for a new aircraft that they expected would serve them well.

Winner: Airbus A220

Which is better?

After looking at all the various factors, it becomes clear that each aircraft has different advantages in different places.

When it comes to range, the A220 beats out while the E2 jets appear fantastic for shorter-haul operations. In fact, both aircraft right now are doing quite well in terms of the number flying around the world as a percentage of the number of aircraft delivered.

Another consideration for airlines is crew training requirements. Operators that have experience flying other Embraer jets might be more inclined to go for the E2.

Which aircraft do you prefer? The Airbus A220 or the Embraer E2s? Let us know in the comments!

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