Embraer Signs LOIs For More Than 250 Turboprops

Credit: Embraer

FARNBOROUGH—Embraer has signed letters of intent (LOI) for more than 250 of its proposed new turboprop, the company announced July 19 at the Farnborough Airshow.

The aircraft is to be launched in early to mid-2023, according to Embraer Commercial Aviation CEO Arjen Meijer. Embraer has been pitching 70- and 90-seat versions of the turboprop to airlines. Meijer said that the LOIs have come from airlines with various business models from Europe, Africa, Latin America, North America and Asia-Pacific. The interest is in both versions of the aircraft.

Embraer has not yet made the decision to go ahead with the smaller or larger variant first. Following the planned launch in 2023, Embraer is targeting a 2028 entry-into-service for the first model and 2029 for the second.

The most important outstanding item in the process, besides finalizing funding and the business plan, is selecting the engine. The competition has come down to Rolls-Royce and Pratt & Whitney, now that General Electric has told Embraer that it will not offer a powerplant. Meijer said the Rolls-Royce and Pratt & Whitney proposals for a state-of-the-art yet conventional engine meet the requirements defined by Embraer in terms of performance and fuel burn.

Pratt & Whitney is the incumbent engine manufacturer on the ATR turboprop and has also recently agreed to build the PW127XT as the new standard engine for the ATR 42 and ATR 72. The aircraft OEM is also studying the ATR EVO, a re-engined version of the turboprop.

Embraer claims its new turboprop will feature 15% lower seat-mile costs than current models. The larger variant will be 25% bigger than the ATR 72.

The company also announced a follow-up order by Porter Airlines for the Embraer 195-E2, bringing Porter’s firm commitment for the type to 50 aircraft. The additional aircraft are to be delivered from 2024 onward. Embraer so far has delivered 52 E2s. The in-service fleet is currently operating at 99.48% dispatch reliability and a 99.93% completion rate.

Alaska Airlines placed an order for eight Embraer 175s and 13 options. The 175-E2 remains “paused” as Embraer is waiting for any movement in U.S. airline scope clauses.

Embraer predicts deliveries of 10,950 aircraft in its segment (up to 150 seats) in its updated 20-year market outlook, virtually unchanged from last year’s study. The company now expects a 3.3% annual growth rate for air travel, slightly below the 3.4% predicted in 2021 and significantly lower than the 4.4% it assumed in the 2019 forecast.

Of the aircraft, 8,670 will be regional or small narrowbody jets and 2,280 will be turboprops. Fifty-seven percent of them will be needed for replacement and 43% for growth. Embraer also sees a market for 700 freighters.

Meijer said he observes significant changes in the operating environment: there is “an extreme focus on sustainability” and airline management teams are more risk-averse because of the economic uncertainties. At the same time, Embraer is engaged in a “very high number” of sales campaigns, a level that Meijer “has not seen before in my career at Embraer.”

Jens Flottau

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