Embraer Looks At 190/195 Passenger-to-Freighter Conversions

Credit: Thierry Monasse/Getty Images

DUBAI—Embraer plans to make a decision about launching a passenger-to-freighter (P2F) conversion program for the Embraer 190 and 195 E1 next year. 

“There is big demand for aircraft of that size,” Rodrigo Silva e Souza, Embraer Commercial Aircraft Vice President Marketing, said Nov. 15 at Dubai Airshow.

The aircraft is aimed to carry around 14 tons of cargo up to a range of 2,000 nm. Embraer has not yet made a firm decision to launch the program. If and when it does, it will start a 24-month development program for a possible market entry in 2024. Embraer is not currently active in the cargo market. 

The launch of the P2F program would be the latest in a series of activities across many aircraft types as demand for air freight continues to be buoyant.

Embraer predicts airlines will order around 700 freighters in the market segment it serves over the next 20 years. According to the latest version of its market forecast, released Nov. 15 in Dubai, two thirds of the cargo aircraft will be for growth while one third will replace existing capacity.

The manufacturer sees an overall market for 10,900 aircraft up to 150 seats over the next 20 years. That compares to the around 5,500 aircraft it predicted in last year’s issue, which was limited to a 10-year time horizon because of the uncertainties caused by the pandemic. In 2019, Embraer forecast a market of 10,500 units over 20 years.

The industry is going to be about 20% smaller than previously anticipated throughout the forecast period, but aircraft demand will still actually grow because 60% of aircraft are to be used as replacements rather than for growth.

The company expects airlines and lessors to order 8,640 jets and 2,260 turboprops.

At the Dubai Airshow, Embraer announced a firm order for three 175s from Overland Airways, a regional airline in Nigeria. Overland also placed options for three more. The aircraft are to be operated in an 88-seat configuration.

Jens Flottau

Based in Frankfurt, Germany, Jens is executive editor and leads Aviation Week Network’s global team of journalists covering commercial aviation.