Brazil’s aircraft manufacturer Embraer said it is talking with potential partners in India and elsewhere over proposals for a new turboprop aircraft launch in mid-2023.
In 2020, the Embraer officials presented the first images of the new turboprop called E3. Depending on the configuration, the new aircraft would carry between 80 and 100 passengers and have an interior similar to that of E-Jet aircraft. The passenger-carrying capacity was not officially announced, but there are 21 windows in the artist’s impression render. The aircraft can enter operational service in 2027. The new turboprop had the engines above the wings as per the images released. Embraer said the new turboprop is a competitor of the ATR and de Havilland Canada aircraft.
With the EMB-120 model in its portfolio, the new turboprop is not the first venture for Embraer.
Rodrigo Silva e Souza, Embraer’s Commercial Aviation Marketing VP, said that Embraer intends to attract business partners and not just suppliers for this new project.
In the same year, President Embraer spoke about a 5-year strategic plan that would focus on profitability and growth with China and India as potential partners. He had also mentioned Russia as a partner, which could be off the menu due to sanctions.
In 2021, Dubai Airshow, Embraer said it would focus its efforts on developing 70 (model TP70) and 90-seater (TP90) turboprops. Its president and commercial director, Arjan Meijer, announced that the plane could be on the market in 2027 and would be able to run entirely on sustainable aviation fuel.
The turboprop has a class-one design that could become a benchmark for the company “to continue to bring new technologies to market, but that will probably be in the late 2040s when alternative fuels become available,” Meijer said.
“The aircraft’s tail-mounted engines will reduce cabin noise for a better passenger experience and facilitate the future inclusion of hydrogen-based fuel tanks. The aircraft concept also generates 10% more personal space, reduces operating costs per seat by 15% and is 20% faster than current turboprops,” Meijer added.
“With its innovative features, the new aircraft will be able to replace the current 50-seat units. Our proposal is to create a turboprop with jet characteristics,” said Embraer’s senior vice president of engineering, technological development and corporate strategy, Luis Affonso.
As the world’s third-largest aircraft manufacturer, the Brazilian company forecasted an increase in global demand for new aircraft of up to 150 seats. Embraer forecasted 10,550 new aircraft deliveries in the 30- to 150-seat segment over the next 20 years with an approximate value of $ 600 billion.
Embraer said the Asia Pacific would account for 28 per cent of demand, North America 27 per cent, Europe 21 per cent, Latin America 11 per cent, Commonwealth of Independent States 6 per cent, Africa 4 per cent and Middle East 3 per cent. Embraer also said projected deliveries for turboprops are 2,320 between now and 2037.
“Excessive exposure to long-distance intercontinental traffic is a risk for the future. The flexibility of the fleet will be essential to explore underserved short- to medium-range markets,” Embraer said in its presentation.
Brazilian company anticipate an increase of 700 small aircraft over the next 20 years, of which 35% will be used as part of its plan to replace and modernize its equipment.
For cargo roles, Embraer predicts that retailers building their e-commerce businesses will look to secondary markets to ensure order availability, fast delivery and service reliability. The company did not put a number on potential sales in this segment.
In April 2022, Embraer said it expects to launch a new aircraft before the end of the year: a 70/90-seater turboprop. The company is working on the development and business plan of the plane. This aircraft will have the E2 segment fuselage, new wings, T-tail, and leading-edge mounted engines.
Embraer Commercial CEO Arjan Meijer said, “We are defining details of the business plan; therefore, the launch of this turboprop aircraft will take place at the end of the year or early 2023.” In the case of getting an engine that takes longer to manufacture, the plane’s launch will be postponed, he said.
Embraer did not provide more details, except that this plane will have an APU, facilitating its power supply and start-up, equipment that potential competitors in the segment, such as the ATR 72, do not have. The aircraft will be built using the same fuselage as the E-Jet family.
As per Reuters, for the engines, Embraer is already in negotiations with Pratt & Whitney, Rolls-Royce and General Electric to decide on the supplier, and the decision will be made in the second half of the year.
Is the market as optimistic as Embraer?
However, demand for turboprops this decade appears to be uncertain as most potential buyers, large airlines, are focusing on more capacity-efficient models. de Havilland Canada had stopped the production of Dash 8-400 aircraft temporarily due to COVID and employee strikes.