Brazilian manufacturer presses on despite Swiss setback

Embraer is pressing ahead with its ambitious certification schedule for the 110-seat 195, with around six potential customers in talks to take delivery of the stretched version of the 190 in 2006.

Embraer is now resigned to the idea that Swiss International Air Lines, launch customer for the variant, is "unlikely to take the aircraft as planned in 2006", says the Brazilian manufacturer's executive vice-president, civil aircraft, Frederico Curado.

Embraer had originally planned to certificate the 195 before the 190 - the latter making its air show debut at Farnborough International last week - based on a 15-aircraft order from Crossair, which has since merged with the former Swissair to form Swiss. The certification priorities were switched to meet the pressing entry-into-service requirements of US low-fares carrier JetBlue, which ordered up to 200 100-seat 190s in July last year.

Swiss is "finalising the delivery reschedule" for its mixed 170/195 order, but insiders expect the Zurich-based carrier to opt for the smaller, longer-range 190 in place of the 195s, leaving Embraer without a launch customer. Despite this, Embraer is pressing ahead with its certification programme for the 195, which is due to make its maiden flight in the third quarter and be approved in the second quarter of 2006, says Orlando José Ferreira Neto, Embraer's director of market intelligence.

He says the reason for the continued pressure on engineers to deliver an on-schedule certification of the 195 is because "around six airlines have expressed an interest" in the type. This figure is split between existing 190 customers with an option to convert, and new customers, he adds.

At the show, Chautauqua Airlines and Republic Airlines parent company Republic Airways Holdings confirmed two further options for 170s, taking the aircraft's total orderbook to 18.

Meanwhile, Embraer confirmed several new commitments at the show for its ERJ-135. Luxair signed a commercial proposal to exercise two options and order an additional aircraft. The carrier is expected to firm up the two options in the coming weeks, with deliveries of the 37-seat aircraft due in the first quarter of next year, dependent on the aircraft receiving all-weather certification for London City airport.

The ERJ-135 received its steep approach certification in October 2003, but is still awaiting wet weather approval for the airport from the UK Civil Aviation Authority.


Source: Flight International