Powerplant availability guides Embraer re-engining target

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The choice and availability of the engine that powers the planned Embraer E-Jet refresh is the key pacing item for the service-entry timing for the re-engined aircraft, said the airframer.

Embraer is talking to all the three main engine manufacturers about suitable advanced powerplants as it scopes the re-engined E-Jet proposal, the airframer's commercial aviation president Paulo Cesar de Souza e Silva told Flightglobal Pro at last week's Singapore air show. "The entry-into-service depends on the engine manufacturer, it will be sometime between 2016 and 2018," he said.

"GE will probably have an engine for this aircraft in 2017/18, and Rolls around 2017/2018. The GTF will maybe a little bit before that," added de Silva.

Although little detail has been released on the E-Jet studies, Silva said that the airframer is confident the update will enable the E-Jet to be more than competitive with the new aircraft that are entering its market, such as the Mitsubishi MRJ, Bombardier CSeries and Airbus and Boeing re-engined narrowbodies.

"Our target is at least 15% [lower fuel burn] - our minimum should be the best number of the other guys," he said.

Observers believe Rolls-Royce could use the E-Jet project as a back door way of getting back into the narrowbody game after being excluded by Airbus and Boeing for their A320neo and 737 Max re-engining programmes. While acknowledging the Embraer discussions, R-R is reluctant to say much more: "We've been in talks with Embraer for a while about a range of technologies we could offer," said a spokesman.

Embraer aims to finalise the definition of the re-engined E-Jet family to enable a launch decision to be made before year-end.