Three weeks ago Embraer was "seriously studying the possibiliy of a return to turboprop manufacture".
Today. we asked Frederico Curado, Embraer chief executive, if there was any chance that Embraer might still launch a new turboprop to compete with the Bombardier Q400 and the ATR 42/72 family.
Curado, who held a press conference at the US Chamber of Commerce, said "no" in no uncertain terms. He also may have sneaked in a veiled dig at his Canadian rival, claiming the turboprop market can sustain only one manufacturer. Embraer competes with Bombardier on regional jets, but not directly with ATR on regional turboprops.
Here's the transcript of our conversation:
FLIGHTGLOBAL: Some of your competitors are looking at new turboprops and you have looked at that in the past as well, the recent past. Have you looked at that again in the recent - very recent - past perhaps as those developments, you know, continue?
CURADO: Your question is about turboprops and whether we have looked at that recently. The answer is yes we have. And again we continue - we don't think this is the best investment today. Last year, some roughly 150 or so turboprops were sold. The numbers are not precise but let's say 150 or 143 were sold by ATR [ED: ATR actually sold 157], and only seven or nine Q400s [ED: It was seven]. It just confirmed our assessment of the market that this is a market which has a size for one manufacturer. Two may be already kind of complicated. And a third player? Unless there is a huge breakthrough in technology, which we don't see there - the engines can probably bring some advantage - but it's too small a market to justify a huge investment in our point of view. We are really focusing on the E-Jets for the time-being.