Embraer waits for 737 decision before defining own plan

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Brazilian airframer Embraer is refraining from deciding on whether to re-engine its E-Jets or bring a larger-capacity, clean-sheet aircraft to market until Boeing defines its plan for the 737.

Even through Airbus has launched the re-engined A320neo, Embraer is hanging back. "We have to wait until Boeing decides. After that, the landscape will be clear," Embraer chief executive Frederico Curado told Bloomberg News on 29 January.

A recently-released research note issued by Morgan Stanley says it believes orders for A320neo twinjets will force Boeing to reveal plans for a new narrowbody by June. Boeing has said, however, that it hopes to solidify its plans by the end of 2011.

Confirming Curado's comments last week to Bloomberg an Embraer spokeswoman tells ATI and Flightglobal that the Embraer chief "has always stated that Boeing's and Airbus' decisions would be an important factor in moving forward with any future plans for Embraer's airline products.

"Once we know what their decision is, we will then study our own options. At this point there is really nothing decided."

Embraer has been studying its options for some time, however. Last September Embraer executive vice-president for the airline market Paulo Cesar Silva told attendees at the European Regions Airline Association conference in Barcelona that the firm had set a six- to nine-month timeline for a decision.

"We are deeply involved now in understanding what the alternatives are, and what the company might do. We should make a decision within the next six to nine months," said Silva at the time.

Airbus, meanwhile, has already secured Virgin America as launch customer for the A320neo and received a pledge by Indian carrier IndiGo for 150 of the aircraft.

These A320neo commitments served to highlight the lack of new orders for the 100/130-seat CSeries being developed by Embraer's arch-rival Bombardier.

However, Bombardier remains satisfied with firm CSeries orders to date. "That's pretty much what we expected at this stage of our development with more to come," says the airframer.