Embraer does not see partnering with Airbus, Boeing on E-Jets re-engining

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Embraer does not intend to team up with Airbus or Boeing if it opts to re-engine its E-Jets, but says it would look to forge industrial partnerships with first and second tier suppliers.

The Brazilian airframer has made a large investment in studying whether or not to re-engine the E-170 and E-190 or develop a larger-capacity, clean-sheet design to compete with the Bombardier CSeries and other rivals.

Re-engining the E-Jets would represent "a follow-on" solution to an already existing programme "so I don't see any possibility of cooperation" with Airbus or Boeing, Embraer chief executive Fred Curado confirmed today during an earnings conference call to report a 3.7% rise in second quarter net income to $70.3 million.

"This is a 100% Embraer product. What I do envision is first and second tier suppliers to us helping to support [such a programme] but we do not actually need, and probably our competitors would not want to help us out in any re-engining of E-Jets," says Curado.

If Embraer presses ahead with re-engining, the airframer will likely look towards larger-fan engine technology, says Curado, noting that the airframer is in talks with engine makers.

"We may have to raise the aircraft a little bit and [it] would require us to redesign the wing and maybe the gears, and this is one of the variables we have to analyse," he says. "Then, if we change the aircraft, the investment goes up so we have to be very certain about the market demand for the requirements. Today's it's not clear."

Embraer does not anticipate making a decision on re-engining or offering a new-design aircraft until at least the end of this year.

"We have to understand the several moving pieces in this puzzle before we act. Having a modern aircraft [with the E-Jets] gives us space [and] the time to wait and see," says Curado, noting that customers are not pressing Embraer on re-engining.

Those moving pieces include Bombardier's launch of the Pratt & Whitney geared turbofan-powered CSeries, for which the Canadian airframer has secured 90 firm orders, as well as Airbus and Boeing's own re-engining studies for the A320 family and 737 series, respectively.