Rumour’s about the Brazilian manufacturer’s potential development of a clean-sheet turbo-prop catering for the 70-100 seat segment have long been around. During John Slattery’s time rumours around the study of such a concept were confirmed a number of times, however the manufacturer shied away from committing to the development of the aircraft, citing the bumps in the road towards the – now off – Boeing JV. However, Embraer just tweeted a couple of conceptual photos, which more or less aligns with engineering drawings, which have already “leaked”, except for its T-tail.
When we look at the current turbo-prop market, dominated by De Havilland and ATR, it becomes crystal clear that this segment of the market has been neglected for the last two decades. Most innovations came in the form of avionics upgrades, but the airframe and passenger experience has largely been untouched. Subsequently airlines don’t have the option to radically alter networks and/or their profitability on certain routes due to the lack of new options currently available.
The new Embraer “E3” aircraft being a clean sheet designed, optimised for its intended seat capacity could bring substantial economic advantages for a market that’s been ripe for change and innovation for the last two decades.
In the current economic climate the turbo-prop segment of the market could be poised to grow even further as airlines look to hedge their financial exposure and rationalise their networks in order to fortify what they have left.
In conclusion, with the E3 being an aircraft specifically designed for it’s intended capacity and mission range – as opposed to it’s incumbent competitors, which are derivatives and stretches of their original designs – could deliver game changer economics and depending on the engine and its performance could challenge some regional jets on their shorter stages.
We believe if Embraer manages to secure the funding required for the E3, it could prove to be the lifeline for the Brazilian manufacturer in the form of potential early orders.