Brazilian planemaker Embraer has sold 30 E195-E2s to an undisclosed customer. The sale marks a sharp turnaround for the aircraft manufacturer. Until now. Embraer had sold just two commercial passenger planes over the past year.
Aircraft lessor a likely customer for E195-E2s
Embraer included news of the deal with the release of their Q1 2021 results on Thursday. Softening the announcement of a quarterly loss of US$89.7 million were details of the plane sale. Embraer says the firm order for 30 planes was signed on April 23. Deliveries are scheduled to begin in 2022.
The identity of the customer is unknown. But considered speculation suggests an aircraft lessor is the likely customer. In the wake of the travel downturn, aviation industry insiders believe a big swing to smaller, fuel-efficient, and environmentally friendly jets is underway.
The deal may be a case of an aircraft lessor lining up to meet this future demand. Lessors Aircastle, NAC, and ICBC Aviation have previously managed 195-E2 deliveries to airline customers.
A slow quarter not unexpected at Embraer
Demand for commercial planes has slumped at Embraer since the global travel downturn began last year. As of March 31, Embraer had firm orders for 272 commercial jets. The bulk of those orders were for E175 and E195-E2 jets. In the three months to March 31, Embraer delivered nine commercial jets and 13 executive jets. However, until the April 23 deal, orders for new commercial planes were at a standstill.
Embraer notes the first quarter of the calendar year is historically its slowest month. However, the planemaker is striking an upbeat tone, saying in its quarterly results note;
“With some regions of the world, particularly the United States, starting to show better vaccination rollout and improved traffic in the commercial aviation and business aviation markets, the company is cautiously optimistic.”
The deal highlights a shift in customer preferences from older Embraer aircraft types such as the E170 to the high performance and efficient E2 jets. The E195-E2 is shaping up as a viable alternative to the popular Airbus A220 jet.
Three airlines take delivery of E195-E2 jets this year
Embraer points to the success of the E195-E2 at European legacy airline KLM. Europe is Airbus country, but KLM has 50 Embraer regional jets in its fleet and took its first E195-E2 plane in February. KLM has 35 of the planes on order to fly across its Cityhopper network. KLM’s Managing Director of Cityhopper services, Warner Rootleip, lauded the plane’s economic and environmental credentials when Embraer handed over the keys to KLM’s first E195-E2.
“The addition of the E195-E2 to our fleet is a vital part of our plan to reduce our carbon footprint at least 50% per pax/km by 2030. The 195-E2 is not only an economically attractive aircraft, but it also fits perfectly within our sustainability initiative,” said Mr Rootliep.
Since January, Embraer has also delivered the first of 13 E195-E2 planes to Nigerian airline, Air Peace. Air Peace’s E195-E2 services will mark the debut of the aircraft type in Africa. In North America, Salt Lake City-based startup Breeze Airways received the first of 15 E195-E2 planes it has ordered via lessor Nordic Aviation Capital (NAC).
Since the onset of the travel downturn, Embraer has flagged a future preference for smaller, fuel-efficient, and environmentally friendly regional jets. Arguably the global market leader in that product category, Embraer believes the E195-E2 has a bright future, and further orders will follow.
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