Embraer sees potential in winning more customers in Asia for the E195-E2, as the airframer reiterates plans to expand its footprint in the growing region ahead of the Singapore air show.

Embraer's commercial aviation chief John Slattery believes the 146-seat high-density configuration of the E195-E2 will be appealing to low-cost carriers globally as well as airlines in Southeast Asia.

"We believe there will be plenty of appetite for a two to three-class configuration in North America and Europe," he tells FlightGlobal in an interview at Embraer's headquarters. "But we also believe certainly with the low-cost carriers and also perhaps in Southeast Asia, there will be a lot of appetite for carriers to review the economics of a 146 seater."

India's Air Costa is the only announced Asian customer for the E195-E2 but the airline suspended operations in February 2017, casting doubt over the fate of their order for 25 E190-E2s and 25 E195-E2s.

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Embraer is sending its largest ever team to the Singapore air show that kicks off on 6 February, where it will have the E190-E2 on static display. The prototype, nicknamed the "profit hunter" by Embraer, will feature a tiger's face painted on its nose in a nod to Embraer's respect for Asia, says Slattery.

"40% of the growth is going to come from there," he adds, referring to the region. "We want to participate more."

Slattery will travel to China from Singapore after the air show ends, before returning to Sao Jose dos Campos.

The push for more E-Jet sales in Asia is a key pillar of Embraer's ambition to secure more E-Jet customers globally. Slattery says he wants to grow the number of E-Jet operators to 100 from 70 currently.

The airframer is months away from delivering its first E190-E2 to Norwegian regional carrier Wideroe in April. The airline plans to operate its first revenue flight with the aircraft on 24 April.

Registered LN-WEA, the aircraft was in the final assembly line at Embraer's facilities in Sao Jose dos Campos when FlightGlobal visited today. In the coming weeks, the aircraft will have its engines and cabin interiors installed.

Wideroe has firm orders for three E190-E2s and will take the second in May followed by the third in June, says Slattery. Kazakhstan's Air Astana will be the second operator of the E190-E2, and will take the first of five aircraft leased from AerCap in the second half of the year.

China's GX Airlines will also receive its first E190-E2 by year-end, says Embraer vice-president of marketing Rodrigo Silva e Souza. The aircraft is coming out of Tianjin Airlines' order for two E190-E2s, says Embraer. Both GX Airlines and Tianjin are part of China's HNA Group.

Source: Cirium Dashboard