Azul Linhas Aereas could be the perfect fit for Embraer’s new Next Generation Turboprop, which could start flying between 2027 and 2028. The Brazilian carrier has a domestic map route that significantly depends on airplanes like the ATR-72, which could be easily replaced by the newest plane on the block.
Azul fleet is in a renewal phase
So far, we don’t know a lot about Embraer’s future turboprop. Almost a month ago, the Brazilian OEM revealed its latest 70-90 seat aircraft. These two planes are tentatively designated as TPNG 70 and TPNG 90 (Turboprop Next Generation).
Embraer proposes to offer a high-tech, 70 to 90 seat turboprop with the same cross-section as the E-Jets. It will be a very comfortable aircraft, with no middle seats and spacious overhead bins.
The objective is to replace the current 50-seat regional jets, such as the ATRs 42-600, 72-600, and De Havilland Canada’s Dash 8-400. It just happens that Azul has 33 ATR 72-600, according to ch-aviation. These planes are 7.6 years old and have the capacity for 70 passengers, all in economy seats. Including the ATRs, Azul has 178 aircraft.
Azul is currently in the renewal process of its fleet. The airline is set to receive 54 Embraer E2 jets starting in 2024. It also has an order for several Airbus A320neo aircraft. As of June 30, 2021, Azul had commitments to acquire 138 aircraft, 97 directly from manufacturers and 41 from lessors, said the airline during its latest investors call.
Nevertheless, none of these planes will replace the ATR fleet, so there’s an area of opportunity there for the future.
What do we know about Embraer’s new plane?
Unlike its competition from ATR and De Havilland Canada, the new Embraer turboprop will have rear fuselage-mounted engines. This will allow for a quieter cabin and jetbridge compatibility.
Additionally, Embraer’s new turboprop could have a range of a bit more than 800 nautical miles (1,481 kilometers). That’s a bit less than the current range of the ATR 72-600, but Embraer aims to make this plane faster, as Rodrigo Silva e Souza, Embraer’s vice-president of Marketing, said recently to The Air Current.
The Brazilian OEM wants to recover the appeal lost by the turboprops. Passengers currently see these planes as cramped, noisy, and without enough overhead space.
The TPNG 70 and TPNG 90 will have increased efficiency of around 20-25%; they will have a 20% better fuel burn and 20% lower emissions.
How would Embraer’s turboprop be a perfect fit for Azul?
Azul is Brazil’s top regional airline. It operates alone on 80% of its routes, Azul’s management proudly claims. Currently, Azul operates approximately 4,200 monthly flights using its ATR fleet, according to Cirium. That’s 20% of its whole operation.
In the last few months, Azul has become the leading operator in the country, with over 37% of the domestic market share. And Brazil still has a market open for the taking that was growing prior to the COVID-19 pandemic.
Azul knows that; last year, the company bought a small Cessna airline to offer cargo and passenger service to small, underserved cities. In 2021, Azul and Lilium announced a partnership to create an electric Vertical and Take-Off Landings aircraft market in Brazil. Embraer’s new turboprop could be a perfect component of Azul’s plans.
Therefore, the TPNG 70 and TPNG 90 seem to be the perfect fit to replace Azul’s ATR fleet. They will have the capacity for more passengers, allowing Azul to absorb more travelers as the Brazilian market continues growing.
Moreover, Azul and Embraer already have a close relationship. The Brazilian airline was the launch operator of Embraer’s E195-E2.
Finally, Simple Flying reached Azul for comment. So far, we haven’t received an answer.
Would you like to see Embraer’s new turboprop with the Azul’s livery? Let us know in the comments.