As Embraer defines its plan for the second generation E-Jet regional aircraft, it is planning to ensure pilots will need to have only one type rating to operate either aircraft type.

Over the course of the next year, Embraer will have discussions with airlines to assess what their requirements are for a new product and to define the performance parameters by late next year for the new family of aircraft, says Paulo Cesar de Souza e Silva, Embraer President, Commercial Aviation.

A range of issues remain open for discussion beyond the engine selection – where incumbent General Electric is considered the front runner but talks also are taking place with the likes of Pratt & Whitney and CFM International. Among those is whether to go for a full fly-by-wire system and what changes to make to update the flight deck.

But de Souza stresses that “commonality with the E-Jets is a must.” The core elements of the E-Jet upgrade, beyond the engine, are a new engine, wing, and landing gear, which will likely be applied to the E175, E190 and E195. The E170 may not be upgraded unless there is a relaxation of U.S. scope clause agreements. What may change is the number of passengers the updated E195 can carry, with some airlines showing interest in higher seat-count.

The new aircraft, which is due to come to market around 2018, may not feature greater range, because there may not be much customer push for that enhancement.

De Souza notes that even as Embraer continues working on defining and developing the second generation E-Jets, the aircraft maker will continue updating the current models to keep them market relevant. That includes introducing a health monitoring system, further fuel burn improvements, and a new interior in about two years.

The consideration of building a narrowbody-sized airliner is shelved until around 2022-2025. Embraer, at one point, considered such a move, but determined there was no business case for another offering in that market given the strong competition from Airbus and Boeing. Embraer has not walked away from the narrowbody spirations, and signals it could shift the date from the 2022-2025 timeframe depending on how the market evolves, de Souza says.