Embraer has had trouble selling its most recent aircraft family comprised of the E190-E2 and E195-E2.
Only 205 aircraft have been sold in the eight years since the program launched with airlines choosing the Airbus A220 over the E2.
Embraer says it offers lower fuel burn and costs but airlines want the additional range and space of the A220.
Aircraft manufacturers in the past decade have found success in revitalizing their best-selling aircraft and incorporating new technologies to increase efficiency and performance capabilities.
Airbus launched the A320neo and A330neo families and Boeing launched the 737 Max family of aircraft. Embraer, looking to replicate the success it had with its E190 and E195 aircraft, launched the E2 family in 2013 and hoped to get existing E190 family customers to upgrade their fleets.
But while Airbus and Boeing both have sold thousands of their re-engined planes, Embraer has not been as lucky. The E2 family has earned a total of 205 orders as of September 30, compared to the 740 orders that the first generation of the E190 family earned.
The smaller E190-E2 has, so far, only earned 22 firm orders while the larger E195-E2 has fared much better with 183 firm orders. Such a low order count is putting the E190-E2 family on track to be one of the worst-selling E-Jet aircraft families in the manufacturer’s history.
Embraer showed off its E195-E2 demonstration aircraft at the Dubai Airshow in November. Here’s how the Brazilian manufacturer reimagined the E190 family.
Powering the E190-E2 family is the Pratt & Whitney Geared Turbofan engine that’s also found on the Airbus A220 aircraft and larger jets such as the Airbus A320neo family aircraft.
The high-bypass ratio engines offer the E195-E2 a top speed of Mach .082 while reducing fuel burn.
Each member of the E2 family, including the E175-E2, E190-E2, and E195-E2, also has its own unique wing that’s optimized based on the characteristics of each aircraft type and helps improve each aircraft’s performance.
Fly-by-wire technology in the aircraft allowed Embraer to make the horizontal stabilizer smaller.
Smaller control surfaces reduce drag and the overall weight of the aircraft. Embraer also designed a smoother fuselage to reduce drag even further.
Underneath the aircraft, a simplified landing gear system helps reduce maintenance costs for the aircraft.
All of the small changes to the aircraft contribute to a lower fuel burn per seat of around 25%. And compared to the A220-300, the E2’s top competitor, Embraer says its fuel burn per trip is 10% lower on the E195-E2 with a similar fuel burn per seat.
Emblazoned on the side of the aircraft is its nickname, “profit hunter,” because of the cost savings that Embraer says it can offer customers.
Stepping onboard the aircraft, the cabin should be a familiar sight to any frequent JetBlue Airways or Breeze Airways flyer in the US.
The E195-E2 as the largest of the E2 family can seat as many as 146 passengers in a single-class economy configuration.
The first thing many passengers might notice is that the 2-2 configuration of the cabin means there are no middle seats. Each seat is either an aisle or a window seat.
Embraer outlined the different possible configurations from 29 inches at minimum to 34 inches at most. Ultra-low-cost carriers are inclined to prefer seats with less legroom while full-service carriers typically offer seats with at least 30 inches of pitch.
Slimline seats make it so that the reduced legroom is less noticeable. Airlines that offer seats with less than 30 inches of pitch, however, will often restrict recline capabilities.
Standard amenities can be offered with slimline seats including normal-size tray tables and literature pockets.
Seats with greater levels of pitch can offer greater amenities. A seat with 34 inches of legroom has enough space for, say, an adjustable headrest.
But as seat pitch increases, capacity decreases. While 146 seats can be installed with 28 inches of pitch, that number drops to 132 if the standard seat pitch is increased by three inches to 31 inches of pitch.
Airlines will often charge a premium for extra-legroom seats closer to the front of the plane, helping make up for the loss in capacity.
The E195-E2 can seat 120 passengers in a two-class configuration, comprised of 12 business class seats with 36 inches of pitch, 24 extra-legroom economy class seats with 34 inches of pitch, and 84 economy class seats with 31 inches of pitch.
Airlines can also opt to include a full-size business class cabin comparable to those on larger aircraft. Embraer developed and produces a new type of business class seat specifically for the E190-E2 family of aircraft.
Staggered seats allow for a 2-2 configuration with a greater seat pitch of at least 51 inches. The traditional business class layout on the E170/190 family aircraft is a 1-2 configuration to allow for larger seats.
Flyers in the window seat can also access the aisle easier as there should be room to walk in front of the aisle seat without disturbing their fellow passenger. It’s not quite direct aisle access but the closest thing to it on an E-Jet in a 2-2 business class configuration.
The recline is quite deep given the extra seat pitch offered in the cabin.
And even aisle seat travelers can get a direct line of sight out of the window.
Air Peace in Nigeria currently flies the E195-E2 with the staggered seat business class product.
Embraer is still refining the product as it’s the first of its kind to be introduced on an E-Jet.
Windows are larger on the E2 generation aircraft than the previous generation, offering more natural light in the cabin and better views for travelers.
Mood lighting can be found on the aircraft in which the lighting changes with each phase of flight. It’s intended to sync up with a traveler’s circadian rhythms and help with sleep when it’s time to rest and wake up when it’s time to land.
Overhead bin space is more generous than the previous generation aircraft with storage space for one carry-on bag for every passenger, Embraer says.
Flyers can put their bags in “wheels first” instead of sideways.
And the overhead bins open in a way that passengers don’t bump their heads when opening the door.
The maximum range of the E195-E2 with full passengers in a single-class configuration is 2,600 nautical miles. That’s enough to fly non-stop between New York and Los Angeles under the right conditions.
Both Airbus A220 aircraft offer a range of around 3,400 nautical miles, eclipsing the Embraer E195-E2 by 800 nautical miles. The smaller Embraer E190-E2 offers a slightly better 2,850 nautical miles range in a single-class configuration.
Embraer’s main argument when it comes to range comparisons with the A220 is that airlines aren’t currently using the A220 to its fullest potential in that department. Most routes operated by the A220 can be flown by the E2s.
And Embraer has a point. The longest scheduled route operated by an A220 family aircraft in 2021 was Air Tanzania on the Dar es Salam, Tanzania-Mumbai, India route, which measures around 2,500 nautical miles.
Airlines that want to fly routes with the E2s that are at the top end of the range for either aircraft would likely need to sacrifice seats, however.
The cockpit is nearly identical to the cockpit of the previous generation Embraer aircraft with notable exceptions in the primary display screens.
A total of four high-definition screens replace six screens, giving the pilots more flexibility in how to receive information.
Navigation charts and maps can be displayed on the screens so pilots have maximum situational awareness without needing to use an external device to access the same data.
Current generation Embraer pilots will also notice that the control column is exactly the same in an upside-down W-shape.
Having a nearly identical cockpit to the E170/E190 family of aircraft means that airlines can save on pilot training costs. Only a minor differences training is required as the type ratings are the same.
As a result, natural customers for the E2s are operators of the E1 aircraft but Embraer hasn’t been able to keep all of those airlines from defecting to Airbus. In North America, for example, Air Canada and JetBlue Airways have both opted to purchase the A220 and retire their Embraer fleets.
The most recognizable airlines to place an order for the E190-E2 aircraft is KLM Royal Dutch Airways in Europe and Azul Brazilian Airlines in South America. Canada’s Porter Airlines in July placed an order 30 for E195-E2 aircraft with options for an additional 50.
The E195-E2 is proving to be the aircraft that saves the E2 program with the orders it is bringing in. But it still has a long way to go to keep up with its rivals.
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