Embraer Confident On Demand For E-Jet P2F Conversions

Credit: Andrei Filippov / Alamy Stock Photo

Brazilian aircraft manufacturer Embraer is optimistic about demand for the newly launched passenger-to-freighter (P2F) conversion program for E190 and E195 jets, estimating that it could transform between 100 and 200 of the jets into cargo aircraft over the next 10 years. 

“We are discussing our product with the main operators in all regions,” Embraer’s strategic marketing director Daniel Galhardo Gomes tells Aviation Daily. He believes the company may have an announcement to make as a result of those discussions before the end of 2022.  

“E-commerce is strong trend that is coming to change the cargo market,” Galhardo Gomes says. With that growing e-commerce trend comes demand for narrowbody freighters, as operators seek to offer services to more destinations. This is reflected in a shift in recent years toward more narrowbody conversions, which make up about 70% of all conversions, according to Embraer. 

“We are reaching the mid-life of the first E-Jets that went into operation and typically this is the right moment to get into the cargo market,” Galhardo Gomes says. “We have a very competitive solution to offer in terms of operational costs, but also in terms of payload.”

The manufacturer launched P2F conversions for the E190F and E195F earlier in March, saying the program would aim to meet growing demand from e-commerce and cater to that sector’s need for fast deliveries and decentralized operations. Entry into service is planned for 2024.

The E190F will be able to handle a payload of 23,600 lb. (10,700 kg) while the E195F will be able to handle 27,100 lb. (12,300 kg). The manufacturer sees an overall market for some 700 aircraft of around this size over 20 years.  

Galhardo Gomes notes that while the two converted freighters will offer lower operating costs—the E195F offers 25% lower fuel burn and 35% lower maintenance costs that the Boeing 737-300, for a similar range and payload capacity—their efficiency will also offer better environmental performance. 

Asked about current airline and cargo operator concerns over high fuel prices, he says: “Fuel prices are a short-term situation and it’s really hard for operators to take long-term decisions on fuel prices, but something that always helps is a more efficient airplane.”  

Embraer has identified a hangar at its headquarters in Sao Jose dos Campos, Brazil, for the conversion program. Galhardo Gomes sees potential for converting around five aircraft in the first year as activities get off the ground and around 12 aircraft per year once the program is fully mature—a total that could be expanded if demand reaches the upper end of Embraer’s expectations.  

Helen Massy-Beresford

Based in Paris, Helen Massy-Beresford covers European and Middle Eastern airlines, the European Commission’s air transport policy and the air cargo industry for Aviation Week & Space Technology and Aviation Daily.