DUBAI: Embraer excludes E-170 from re-engine study

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Embraer could exclude its 170 regional aircraft from a wider plan to re-engine its family of E-Jets as the type might not meet the "business case" for the programme.

The Brazilian airframer will, instead, focus on the 175, 190 and 195, said Paolo Cesar de Souza e Silva, president of Embraer Commercial Aviation.

"For the 170, we have to look at the North American market and if there is a relaxation of the scope clause. If that does not happen, then we may not go ahead with the 170. For now, we are looking at the 175, 190 and 195 for this re-engine programme," he said.

The "second generation" E-Jets, said Silva, would entail a complete re-look at the aircraft, with the 195 possibly stretched to 130 seats as "some customers would like to see one".

Incumbent engine provider GE is under consideration, as are CFM International with the Leap-X and Pratt & Whitney with the PurePower engine, he added. Other changes to the flight deck and incorporation of a full fly-by-wire system are also on the cards.

But the aircraft would not necessarily need longer range, Silva added. "It seems the range we provide now is enough," he said.

"We will make a decision by the end of 2012 after we have wrapped up the definition and completed discussions with our customers," said Silva. "But commonality with the E-Jet family is a must."

Embraer has a three-year backlog for the E-Jets, and Silva said that the company will also pursue upgrades to these aircraft in terms of fuel-burn concurrently with the study.

"What we have today fulfils the needs of our customers and brings a lot of comfort to the passengers," said Silva.

Competition from a new generation of regional jets such as the Mitsubishi MRJ is not something Embraer is too worried about, he added.

"The MRJ is not selling well, for sure, and you have to ask them why. We offer an entire family of aircraft that are already lighter than the MRJ, and the performance of the E-Jets after they are re-engined will be better than what they can offer," said Silva.