However tempting it is to compare Embraer's launch orders for the new E-Jet E2 with Bombardier's lack of orders here for the CSeries, the companies are aiming at different markets. But there is an overlap that could prove crucial in the longer term.

Embraer launched its three-aircraft E-Jet E2 family with 365 orders and other commitments anchored by its traditional regional-airline customer base. Bombardier, meanwhile, is trying to carve out a niche for its CSeries. Both are eyeing the potential market for their new aircraft at those airlines now ordering Airbus A320NEOs and Boeing 737 MAXs by the hundreds.

The E-Jet E2 “is not just a reengining—we are investing heavily to achieve the efficiency of a clean-sheet aircraft,” says Luis Carlos Affonso, chief operating officer for commercial aviation. The new family comprises the 88-seat E175-E2, one seat-row longer than today's Embraer 170; the 106-seat E190-E2, the same size as the Embraer 190; and the 132-seat E195-E2, three seat-rows longer than the Embraer 195.

Affonso says the E2's lower fuel burn per trip versus the new narrowbody airliners “will be an important market driver,” allowing airlines to “right-size” their fleets by operating the E190-E2 or E195-E2 on services that do not support an A319NEO or A320NEO. Bombardier is trying to make a similar case for the 135-160-seat CS300, arguing it has similar seat costs to a 180-seater but 20% lower trip costs.

The complementarity argument did not prevail at EasyJet, which announced plans here to buy 100 A320NEOs after evaluating the CS300 as well as the 737 MAX. Bombardier says it continues to talk to the European low-cost carrier about its 150-passenger segment, and does not believe the door is closed to the CSeries.

The E195-E2's cash operating cost per seat is 5% lower than the 134-seat A319NEO, but its fuel burn per trip is 20% lower, Affonso says. Embraer also believes it can compete against Bombardier's smaller 110-seat CS100. “The CS100 is bigger than the 190, which has the right size and a lower trip cost. The 195 has more seats, and is the most optimized aircraft. The CS300 is a bigger aircraft and competes more directly with Airbus and Boeing,” he says.

Staying away from Airbus and Boeing territory is key to Embraer's commercial-aircraft strategy as the company looks to grow. “The fact that defense can grow to be a solid business and business aviation to be another important pillar is embedded in our decision not to try to engage in larger commercial aircraft,” says President/CEO Frederico Fleury Curado. “Diversification is a need for us. I don't see either being larger than commercial aircraft, at least on the visible horizon, but they can be important enough.”

The biggest change to the E2 family is the Pratt & Whitney geared turbofan (GTF) engines: PW1700G on the E175-E2 and larger PW1900G on the E190/195-E2. The engines are low-risk, says Pratt & Whitney President David Hess, because the PW1700G is almost identical to the PW1200G under development for the Mitsubishi MRJ and the PW1900G to the PW1500G already certified for the CSeries.

“We are comfortable with the engine. It is more than just the gear,” says Affonso. The GTF was selected over incumbent General Electric's NG34 and a Rolls-Royce offering. “The GTF has reserves,” says Curado. “It runs a little bit cooler and has margins that history shows are often needed as engines run hotter over time. That was a plus.”

Other changes include new high aspect-ratio wings for the E175-E2 and the E190/195-E2, both with longer span and raked tips instead of winglets. The wings are metal. Affonso says composites are not as cost-effective on this size of aircraft. The landing gear is longer, to accommodate the larger-diameter engines, and the Honeywell Epic 2 avionics feature large-screen displays.

The E2 family moves to full fly-by-wire, as used by Embraer on the Legacy 450/500 business jet and KC-390 tanker/transport. After problems developing the Legacy system, the company has switched its supplier, to Moog, and will take a greater role in developing the control laws, writing the software and integrating the fly-by-wire system, says Curado.

While the E175-E2 and E195-E2 are stretched, they retain the same range as the Embraer 175 and 195. The E190-E2 stays at the same capacity, but has 450-nm.-longer range “to provide a bigger market catchment area,” says Affonso. List prices for the E2s will be about 15% higher than for the current E-Jet family.

Suppliers have been selected and the joint definition phase is underway in Brazil. The E190-E2 will be the first variant to fly, in the second half of 2016, and will enter service in the first half of 2018, followed by the E195-E2 in 2019 and E175-E2 in 2020. Embraer is aiming to gain 40-45% of a market it estimates at 6,400 deliveries over 20 years, the E175-E2 being marketed as a hub feeder with lower seat costs than a turboprop, the E190-E2 as a new-market opener and the E195-E2 as providing capacity growth for existing E-Jet operators as well as lower costs in mid-density markets.

Versus the equivalent members of the current E-Jet family, the E175-E2 and E190-E2 will have 16% lower fuel per seat while the E195-E2 will be 23% lower. Embraer is aiming for a 65% reduction in noise footprint, and 17% lower maintenance costs.

The E2 family has been launched with 100 firm orders and 100 purchase rights for the E175-E2 from U.S. regional SkyWest Inc.—in addition to up to 200 orders and options for Embraer 175s placed in May—and a letter of intent (LOI) from the International Lease Finance Corp. for 25 orders and 25 options each for the E190-E2 and E195-E2. LOIs for 65 aircraft from airlines in Europe, South America, Africa and Asia round out the total.

Because of the fuselage stretch, longer wing and bigger engines, the E175-E2 is heavier than the Embraer 175, and SkyWest CFO Michael Kraupp says the maximum takeoff weight (MTOW) will be outside U.S. airline scope limits unless Embraer reduces the weight or pilots' unions relax restrictions. This is true for the 200 MRJ90s that SkyWest has on order for delivery from 2017.

Most scope clauses limit MTOW to 86,000 lb.—the E175-E2 weighs in at 97,731 lb. and the MRJ90-LR ordered by SkyWest at 94,358 lb. Kraupp says SkyWest has “sought the protections we believed were necessary to address the issue,” without specifying details. But certifying the MRJ to the lower limits of individual agreements will be a “paperwork exercise,” says Mitsubishi Aircraft head of marketing Yugo Fukuhara.

“This is an open item and we will have to see how things develop with scope clauses over the next four years,” Kraupp adds. Embraer says higher weights are typical for newer-generation aircraft because of heavier new-technology engines, but “believes that major carriers in North America will be able to negotiate new contracts with their pilot unions to allow them to operate higher-weight, but much more economical, aircraft in their fleets.”

Bombardier, meanwhile, did not add to its 177-aircraft firm-order backlog at Paris, but it did reveal U.K.-based Odyssey Airlines as a previously undisclosed customer for 10 CS100s ordered in 2011. The airline plans to operate a premium service from airports such as London City, using the short-runway performance and long range of the CS100, says CEO Adam Scott.

With Andrew Compart in Washington.

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