Embraer Sees Demand For Small Jets In Niche Markets

SalamAir has ordered Embraer E195-E2s to complement its Airbus A320neo-family fleet.

Credit: Embraer

Embraer is increasingly positioning its crossover jets as complements to narrowbodies and smaller types as it seeks to enlarge its niche in the global airliner market.

The Brazilian manufacturer sees its products, which compete in the 75-150-seat segment, as companions to other types in airline fleets.

The recent order for up to 12 E195-E2s for LCC SalamAir, for example, is seen as an acquisition of aircraft for thinner routes not sufficiently mature for the Muscat-based airline’s Airbus A320neos and A321neos. Embraer says the airline can operate the E195-E2 for the same unit cost, but much lower trip cost, than the A320/321neo.

Similarly, when asked on the sidelines of the Paris Air Show about Embraer’s prospects in China, Embraer Commercial Aircraft CEO Arjan Meijer said the aircraft slots between China’s indigenous 78-90-seat COMAC ARJ21 regional jet and the recently introduced 156-168-seat COMAC C919.

Asia is becoming an increasingly popular marketplace for used E1 members of the Embraer family, with second-hand aircraft entering fleets in Australia, Vietnam and Myanmar, he said. In May, Embraer announced orders from Singapore-based LCC Scoot and SKS Airways in Malaysia.

“Asia is a real growth market for Embraer,” Meijer said.

India and China are building networks of regional airports to bring air connectivity to secondary and tertiary cities. Again, Embraer believes that it can find a niche in this marketplace, with these short regional sectors likely being initially too small for full narrowbodies.

In the Middle East, Meijer notes, “The first step … was to act as a pivot between east and west, but we’ve seen more focus on regional connectivity in the past couple of years.”

As well as SalamAir’s order, Royal Jordanian, for long the sole operator of Embraer E1s in the Levant, has decided to renew its fleet with E2s, and Embraer has several ongoing discussions with carriers in the region, he said.

Alan Dron

Based in London, Alan is Europe & Middle East correspondent at Air Transport World.