(Corrects story to say that Embraer is eyeing possible development of a "five-abreast" aircraft, not a "fiberglass" aircraft. Embraer says the author misheard.)

Embraer is eyeing possible development of a five-abreast narrowbody, CEO Frederico Curado has revealed.

Speaking to analysts on 3 May, Curado said the Brazilian airframer could pursue "a couple of strategies" once Boeing has detailed its single-aisle replacement plans and the competitive landscape is clearer.

These include stretching the E-Jets "to get a little bit more size on our brand and then our strategy would be to develop a brand new aircraft, probably a five-abreast aircraft, if we perceive a more vacant space in that area".

Boeing CEO Jim McNerney recently said that any new airplane will address the "heart of the market" centring around 145 to 185 seats, which likely rules out a twin-aisle solution to replace the larger 201-seat 757-200. Yet the US airframer is not expected to clarify its position until the Paris air show.

Curado said: "It's very difficult for us at this stage. I have actually no clear reading about where Boeing is going to position their family." The question, he states, is not whether Boeing will go as low as 145 seats but "where will it be optimised, where are they going to position the centre aircraft.

"If they position the centre aircraft at 145 seats, probably they will have the smallest variants, which it's an important presence in that market. If they move, let's say the centre of the new family upwards, I think he mentioned from 145 to 185 or something like that. So if they move upwards depending on what is the smallest variant of that family, that may represent let's say more space than we have today in the marketplace."

He adds: "So it's very difficult for me to comment on somebody else's moves, but I reiterate my comments which are whenever we see Boeing fix in this final important piece in this complex puzzle, we will then grow and address our decision, what's our next move in the commercial jet market."

Source: Air Transport Intelligence news