Embraer sees a strong opportunity to win orders from Alitalia for the E-190, once the Italian carrier completes its assessment of the type against Bombardier's CRJ900/1000 and the Sukhoi Superjet 100.
"Alitalia is under a lot of pressure to look maybe with different eyes due to the association of the Italians with Sukhoi, but it's not a given that they will go for this solution," says Embraer executive vice-president for the airline market Paulo Cesar Silva.
"I think they will buy - at the end - the most efficient aircraft and we believe the E-Jets are the most efficient ones available out there."
Alitalia wants to replace its current fleet of 10 Bombardier CRJ900s and six Embraer E-170s. The Italian airline is to choose within weeks between the Superjet 100, CRJ900/1000 or the E-190.
"The invitation [from Alitalia indicated] that they are very keen to look at all available options, but they want to have an efficient airline and therefore they must have an efficient fleet and so I think they will do a very deep assessment on the alternatives they have in the market," says Cesar Silva.
Embraer's recent win of some key E-Jet orders underscores the market's continued attraction to the aircraft family, says the Embraer executive.
"Flybe was a very important order because Flybe is the largest operator of the [Bombardier] Q400 turboprop. They also operate the E-195. They did an assessment of the E-175 and the Q400 and they concluded that the E-175 is very efficient for the mission that they assessed. That sent a quite strong message to the market," he says.
"Another strong message is the order made by Steven Udvar-Hazy [with a letter of intent for 10 E-190s]. We're seeing a situation where there is a lot of discussion about re-engining of narrowbodies, the [Bombardier] CSeries, and aircraft coming from the Russians, the Japanese and the Chinese, and then we have a leasing company, Air Lease Corp, buying the E-190. This is also a very strong indication of the popularity and the efficiency of the E-190."