The Embraer E190-E2 vs Airbus A220 – What Plane Is Best? 17

Edit: This article has caused a fiery debate among our readers and the author has been accused of being both an Airbus employee and an Embraer employee. Whilst it would be great to be double dipping and getting paid by both, please understand that we endeavor to not be biased and write as fair articles as possible.

There has been a lot of debate recently in our comment sections about which manufacturer builds the better small jet aircraft, Embraer or Bombardier. In fact, with Airbus buying up the A220 program, and Boeing following in their heels with 80% of Embraer’s commercial jets, this market is ready to erupt.

Delta will soon be the first U.S. airline to fly the A220-100. Photo: Airbus

Some airlines are wrestling with this question themselves, such as Qantas (who last year revealed that they are choosing between these aircraft) and Delta (who increased their order of A220 aircraft).

Qantas
Qantas’ plan for new aircraft over the next decade. Notice their consideration of the A220 and Embraer E2 Source: Qantas

So why not compare the two headlining aircraft head to head and see which come out on top, the Embraer E190-E2 vs Airbus A220.

As many of our readers at Simple Flying work for both Airbus, Boeing, Embraer, and Bombardier (and many more are fans of the aircraft), if there are any mistakes please do let us know in the comments.

How will we compare these two aircraft?

As we have done with other articles, we will pretend that we are a airline that is deciding between the two aircraft. 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

There is a smaller variant of the E2, the E175, however, it would not be fair to compare it with a bigger Airbus plane. 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)

A220
The A220-100 vs E190-E2.

Without further ado, let us dive in.

Embraer E2 family vs Airbus A220 family

EmbraerAirbus
ModelE190-E2E195-E2A220-100A220-300
Cockpit crewTwoTwo
Seating, 2-class96 (12J  + 84Y)120 (12J + 108Y)108 (8J + 100Y)130 (12J + 118Y)
Seating, Max (28 in seats)114146133160
Seat Pitch31-38 in31-36 in28-36 in28-38 in
Seat Width18.3 in18.5-20 inch
Length36.24 m (118 ft 11 in.)41.5 m (136.2 ft)114 ft 9 in / 35.0 m127 ft 0 in / 38.7 m
Wingspan33.72 m (110 ft 7.6 in)35.1 m (115.2 ft)115 ft 1 in / 35.1 m span
Height10.95 m (35 ft 11.3 in)10.9 m (35.8 ft)37 ft 8 in / 11.5 m
MTOW56,400 kg (124,340 lb)61,500 kg (135,584 lb)134,000 lb / 60,781 kg149,000 lb / 67,585 kg
Takeoff Runway1,450 m (4,760 ft)1,970 m (6,463 ft)4,800 ft / 1,463 m6,200 ft / 1,890 m
Landing Runway1,240 m (4,070 ft)1,412 m (4,633 ft)4,550 ft / 1,387 m4,950 ft / 1,509 m
Max. Payload13,700 kg (30,203 lb)16,150 kg (35,605 lb)33,350 lb / 15,127 kg41,250 lb / 18,711 kg
OEW33,000 kg (72,752 lb)77,650 lb (35,221 kg)81,750 lb (37,081 kg)
Fuel capacity13,500 kg / 29,760 lb13,300 kg / 29,321 lb38,875 lb / 17,630 kg37,950 lb / 17,213 kg
Range3,250 nmi (6,020 km)2,600 nmi (4,800 km)2,950 nmi / 5,460 km3,200 nmi / 5,920 km***
Engine2× Pratt & Whitney PW1919G/21G/22G/23G2× Pratt & Whitney PW1500G
Thrust (×2)19,000–23,000 lbf (85–102 kN)21,000-23,300 lbf / 93.4-103.6 kN
SpeedMach 0.82 (473 kn; 876 km/h) maxMach 0.82 (470 kn; 871 km/h) max

*** this fact seems to be wrong, as the physics don’t seem to make sense. We have contacted Airbus for clarification and in the mean time will not be using it in our analysis. 

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.

Passengers

From first glance, it looks like that Airbus has the Embraer aircraft beat. After all, Airbus has the slightly bigger plane with the A220-300 and thus must be better for passengers right?

Not exactly. Both the Embraer jets have more premium passengers than the A220-100 (12 vs 8) and only the A220-300 can match them. Everyone knows that premium passengers make more money from an airline, and four extra business tickets might be worth 10 economy tickets, if not more.

The interior of the Delta A220
The A220-100 features a 2-3 arrangement of seating, which allows for wider seats

Plus, look at those default seat pitches on the Embraer aircraft, 31 vs 28 inches. Whilst we don’t want to dive into specific measurements (in literal inches), that little bit of extra room in economy would be a blessing for those over 6 feet tall.

Overall, the E190 has the A220-100 beat in terms of passengers. Whilst the A220 can carry a few more economy passengers (12) the extra premium passengers will easily mean more money for the airline. Plus more room on board for those economy passengers is always a nice comfort.

But if we were to include the A220-300 vs the E195, the larger A220 scrapes by with those extra 10 passengers (they both have equal premium passenger seats).

Winner: E190-E2 / Draw, depending on how you look at it

Embraer Sale
A E190-E2 during testing. Source: Embraer

Range

We know that the A220 has bigger fuel tanks than the Embraer but how does this translate into distance?

The A220-100 is smoked by the E190-E2 by a good 500 km. Whilst this might not seem like much, it can mean the difference between short-haul regional travel to international destinations. This is despite the A220-100 carrying far more fuel than the E190, and leads us to believe that the A220-100 is simply not very fuel efficient when compared.

However, if we compare the A220-300 with the E195 we can see that the fuel and bigger thrust does translate into longer distances. For whatever reason, the E195 drops the ball and get beaten by the A220-300 over a 1000 km extra.

If you are an airline looking for a versatile aircraft with good passenger capacity, then why not choose the A220-300?

Winner: Draw / A220-300 depending on how you look at it

How much do they cost?

The following unit costs for each aircraft can be found online:

  • A220 Family
    • A220-100: US$ 79.5 million
    • A220-300: US$ 89.5 million
  • E2 Family
    • E190-E2: US$ 53.6 million
    • E195-E2: US$ 60.4 million

As you can see, the E2 family of aircraft is far cheaper to buy than the Airbus Aircraft. However, Airbus does have a larger ‘production’ scale and thus might be able to drop the price. They might be able to drop the price by so much that they pretty much give the aircraft to you at cost… just like how Delta is rumored to have so many A220 aircraft on order.

Which is more popular with Airlines?

In terms of orders, the A220 is far more popular with almost double the E2 family of aircraft (537 orders vs 260 orders). But again, we don’t know if these airlines actually paid market price for these aircraft, or if they got a very special deal (perhaps when they bought some A350’s they threw in some A220’s as a bonus, wouldn’t that be lovely!)

British Airways A220
The A220 could be a logical choice for BA to operate out of London City Airport. Photo: Airbus

Which is best?

After looking at all the various factors, it becomes clear that neither company is best.

The E190 beats the A220-100, but the A220-300 beats the E195. When it comes to technicals, I think we can agree that it’s a draw. But if you are looking to buy and want to get bang for your buck, the newer E2 range of aircraft might be just what you are looking for.

If you have enjoyed this article, be sure to check out our other comparison articles:

17 Comments

  1. I believe there are errors in your numbers, specifically on the take off distance and the range of the Embraer 190. That is why the A220 100 is able to fly to the London City airport.

  2. On the Embraer website the Take Off distance for the 190 E2 is 1615 meters or 5298 Ft and not 1450 m or 4760 ft. The range is is 2931 nm and not and not 3250 nm. The A220 100 has a longer range, shorter take off and caries more passengers in a 3 class configuration 120 vs 97) than the Embraer 190 E2. Does that change your conclusions?

  3. Approach capability should also be compared. The C Series steep approach allows it to access some airports that E2s can’t, namely LCY.

    One error to note is that greater thrust does not translate to a range increase as suggested. The thrust bump needed for the A220-300 is required for the increased weight under takeoff and climb conditions. Aircraft throttle back at cruise and the thrust required by a -300 at cruise is well within the capability of a -100.

  4. Not sure if you’ve done due dilligence in your research about the A220 series! Your number are way off, and therefore you came up with … not very accurate conclusions.

  5. You are also wrong about the seat pitch. This is the Delta seat pitch configuration: “Featuring 109 seats in total, the aircraft is made up of 12 First Class seats, 15 in Delta Comfort+ (34″ seat pitch) and 82 in the Main Cabin (30-31″ seat pitch). These seats all offer touchscreens, and 2Ku Wi-Fi but the biggest win here for passengers is that the seats are among the widest seats of any narrow body aircraft, (18.6″) .” Hello 28″ pitch mentioned in your article. This is for the 109 seat configuration which 12 more seats that the Embraer 190 E2 (97 seats) can carry in the same configuration. Do you work for Embraer?

  6. When you correct the conclusions in your article you should mention that the A220 aircraft have wider seats, larger carry-on bins, wider isle and bigger bathrooms (LUs to you) even one with a window so you can view the scenery or take photos while sitting on the throne, if you don’t have a window seat (Delta aircraft) . They also have side stick controls rather than control columns, like larger newer aircraft. I think you are correct on the listed prices but Airbus can probably compete with Embraer on the actual sale price.

  7. This “article” is full of errors. The most obvious for me is that it claims that the A220-300 has a higher empty weight (obviously), carries less fuel (believable), and has greater range (not possible if the fuel numbers are correct) than the A220-100.

    Two variants of the same plane and you think the heavier one with less fuel capacity has greater range? I have a bridge to sell you.

  8. This was an absurdly useless comparison. As others pointed out you got the numbers wrong and don’t seem to understand that things like the number of seats and pitch are determined by the airline and vary widely. Worst of all it reads like it was written by an eighth grader. What a waste of time.

  9. Looking at this from a pax perspective how does 2/3 vs 2/2 configuration become a push?
    The pitch is excellent but that can and will change but usually not so much on the configuration and width.
    Suggest one take a DL 220 in February in a middle seat then review this article….

  10. Here are the mistakes in your “article”:

    1. E2 take off distance 1615m/5298 Ft and not 1450m/4760ft
    2. E2 range is 2931nm and not 3250nm
    3. A220 has a 3 class configuration, not 2 class as you say
    4. A220 has a steep approach capability, something missing in the E2
    5. A220 has larger windows, cabin, isle, and carry on compartments
    6. A220-100, not even the -300 have more launch orders than the E2

    So basically this whole comparison is wrong. Have some respect to your readers and rewrite this thing or remove it.

  11. Here are the mistakes in your “article”:

    1. E2 take off distance 1615m/5298 Ft and not 1450m/4760ft
    2. E2 range is 2931nm and not 3250nm
    3. A220 has a 3 class configuration, not 2 class as you say
    4. A220 has a steep approach capability, something missing in the E2
    5. A220 has larger windows, cabin, isle, and carry on compartments
    6. A220-100, not even the -300 have more launch orders than the E2

    So basically this whole comparison is wrong. Have some respect to your readers and rewrite this thing or remove it.

  12. “In terms of orders, the A220 is far more popular with almost double the E2 family of aircraft (537 orders vs 260 orders).”

    At the top of your article, you add that you would not compare the 175-E2, yet in the orders section, you include the 100 planes ordered by Skywest. Actual amount of 190/195 orders are 158.

    As well, because of the scope clause, Embraer has removed that 100 plane order from it’s books, as it looks like they will never be delivered.

    158 versus 537. Better than a 3 to 1 margin…and counting. Jet Blue and Moxy each also have options for an addition 60 planes each, for another 120.

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