KLM Cityhopper Adding More Embraer E195-E2s For Recovery Phase
KLM Royal Dutch Airlines is shifting focus slightly on its Embraer E1 and E2 fleets in the recovery from the COVID-19 pandemic.
The company decided to extend leases for two E190s by one year and instead return two Boeing 737-700s to lessors. KLM Cityhopper also decided to take four additional E195-E2s on lease from Aircastle as the regional jet fleet is temporarily taking over more former 737 routes.
KLM Cityhopper took delivery of its first two E195-E2s in late February and introduced the aircraft to revenue service on March 1, with its first flight to Warsaw. “We initially fly the aircraft on routes we know and that have a support network,” KLM Cityhopper MD Warner Rootlieb said. “It is technically a very different aircraft [from the E1].”
The airline will get another E195-E2 in March, a fourth aircraft in April and another three before the end of 2021. Eight aircraft are due to be delivered in 2022 with five arriving before the summer peak. Another eight are to be phased in in 2023 and the final two arrive in 2024.
The E195-E2s are intended to replace most of KLM Cityhoppers fleet of 32 E190s. The airline does, however, plan to keep up to 15 E190s for several more years. The airline’s fleet includes 32 E190s and 17 E175s.
According to Rootlieb, KLM has no plans for now to order the E190-E2 or E175-E2. The oldest E175s are only five years old and are nowhere near replacement age. As for the E190s, KLM Cityhopper has decided to replace them with the larger E195-E2s rather than an identically sized aircraft to widen the capacity difference between the aircraft in its fleet. The E175s are configured with 80 seats, the E190s have 100 seats and the E195-E2s have 132 seats in three classes.
Compared to the E190s, KLM estimates the E195-E2 to have a 30% fuel burn advantage per seat translating into 9% less consumption per trip.
Aviation Week Intelligence Network Fleet and Data Services show that KLM has 51 737s, among them 15 737-700s, 31 737-800s and five 737-900s, giving the group a roughly 50/50 split between the 737 and the Embraer fleet for its European network. Rootlieb said the balance could tilt “slightly” toward more Embraer aircraft as the regional fleet takes over some 737 routes at least in the next one or two years. “We are quite convinced the E2 is a good aircraft in the recovery of our company,” Rootlieb said.