Embraer expects to announce more orders for its EMB-145 regional jet during the show, confirms Mauricio Botelho, the Brazilian manufacturer's chief executive officer.

Botelho's apparent confidence raises speculation that Embraer might be the winner of a long-awaited order for regional jets from American Airlines' subsidiary AMR Eagle.

"New orders for the -145 this week? Yes, you should expect that," Botelho cheerfully told a press conference yesterday.

American has evaluated both the -145 and its competitor, the Bombardier Canadair Regional Jet (CRJ).



Embraer has also revealed more details of its planned 35-seat regional jet, the EMB-135, and 70-seat version, the EMB-170. The -135 might not have the same Allison engine that powers the -145, even though the two airframes are essentially the same. Embraer is considering proposals from AlliedSignal and Pratt & Whitney as well as from Allison.

"As part of the homework we have to do, we have to find a willingness from our partners to share risk in development and even in sales," says Botelho. "So we are facing our partners and saying we want them to be partners, not suppliers."

A decision to launch the -135 should come by August. Two plugs will be taken out of the -145 airframe and the aircraft will share the same cockpit and avionics.

Maximum take-off weight will be 18,200kg (401,241lb); maximum cruise speed Mach 0.76 and full-payload range will be 2,590km (1,400nm). First deliveries are expected by the end of 1999.

Botelho sees a "very strong" market for the -135 in the US. "Continental Airlines is so pleased with the -145 that they might consider the -135, or even the -170," he says.



A decision on the -170, meanwhile, is anticipated later in the year. "We have to go deeper into the marketplace in our advanced analysis," says Luis Carlos Affonso, Embraer's director of engineering.

The -170 will also be "-heavily based" on the -145, with a central fuselage plug and modified wing. It will have four-abreast seating, a maximum cruise of M0.80 and range of 2,960km.

Source: Flight Daily News