Embraer Is Looking At Developing A Brand New Turboprop

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In a June 1st earnings call, the CEO of Embraer confirmed that the aircraft manufacturer was looking at developing a brand new turboprop. The turboprop would be one project on which there could be plenty of room for a partnership with an outside entity.

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Embraer believes that there is not enough competition or innovation in the turboprop market currently. Photo: Getty Images

A brand new turboprop for Embraer

When asked about partnership opportunities in the future under the commercial business section, the CEO of Embraer, Francisco Gomes Neto, said the following on a new turboprop:

“We have started studies on this project. This project is a good candidate for a partnership. There are potential markets that might be very interested in having this aircraft.”

Simple Flying reached out to Embraer for additional details. A spokesperson for Embraer added the following:

“Given there is little competition in the TP (turboprop) market and the lack of innovation seen in that segment for so long, we have been looking at a TP for a while.”

Earlier this year, Simple Flying reported that Boeing and Embraer were studying a new turboprop. The reason this would be done in a partnership was because of the sheer amount of cash required to develop a brand new aircraft and market it– something that Embraer does not have on its own. Now that Embraer is no longer partnering with Boeing, it needs to find a new partnership to promote such a product.

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Embraer needs a partner to help come up with the funding for a new aircraft. Photo: Getty Images.

Embraer has noted that China and India are two potential partnership opportunities. The manufacturer is reviewing the business models. Currently, the aircraft manufacturer is in the midst of building up a five-year plan focused on growth and profitability. A turboprop could fill that role perfectly.

What role would a turboprop fill?

There is little competition in the turboprop market. Commercially, currently available for sale are ATR turboprops and the Dash 8-400. The other turboprops are smaller and not widespread amongst major commercial airlines. They include aircraft like the Twin Otter. Another turboprop preparing for entry into service is the Ilyushin Il-114-300.

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The Dash 8-400 is one of the largest turboprops available. Photo: Getty Images

For most airlines, the last few years have been a move away from turboprops. Regional US airlines sought to get rid of them and replace them with new jets. However, now, with climate change at the forefront, some studies show that turboprops could be the answer.

Turboprops have also advanced in technology. They are much faster these days and offer more comfort than most people traditionally recognize. Nowadays, luggage is even becoming less of an issue. Embraer has also certainly learned a lot over the years, which could easily go into a new turboprop.

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The ATRs come in two different sizes. Photo: Getty Images

There are a few ways Embraer could go with a new turboprop. First, it could choose to develop one for smaller markets, say in the 40-60 seat range, and another in larger markets in the 60-90 seat range. This would give the company maximum coverage of key turboprop markets. However, Embraer would not want this new aircraft to take away from its star E-Jet E2 series. Thus, the turboprops would likely be better suited for short-range missions– such as between Luxembourg and Amsterdam or Washington D.C. and New York, among others.

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Embraer has made turboprops before

At the end of the 20th-century, Embraer produced turboprops. This was the Embraer EMB 120 Brasilia. It succeeded the original EMB 110 Bandeirante. The EMB 120 Brasilia was a small turboprop that could seat about 30 passengers. However, considering how that design is about 20+ years old, Embraer will need to design something new.

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Embraer EMB 120 sat 30 passengers. Photo: Tomas Del Coro via Flickr

Overall

There is no official timeline, a name for this project, or even an idea of what the aircraft will look like. Embraer has a lot of work to do before this gets into service. First, it will need to find a new partner to find the cash it needs to support such an endeavor. After that, it will have to market the aircraft and bring in potential customers. Needless to say, it will likely be a few years out before any new turboprop enters the marketplace under Embraer.

Do you think Embraer should make a new turboprop? Would you be excited about a new turboprop? Let us know in the comments!

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