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aim to have new Q400 customers in North Asia, Oceania and India
by mid this year.
“ We see a clear turboprop trend towards larger aircraft and we
addressed this by launching a 90-seat variant,” he said. “SpiceJet
of India is the launch customer and took delivery of the first aircraft
last year. In Asia we have interest from airlines wishing to fly long,
thin routes with a premium cabin of 50 seats and up,” he said. “For
these opportunities we offer the CRJ700, 900 and 1000 aircraft with
capacity from 50 to 100 seats. The only way to operate these thinner
routes profitably is with a regional aircraft and this is where Bom-
bardier see future opportunities for the CRJ family in Asia.”
Whatever the future ownership structure, the Q400 and CRJ
programmes remain relevant to the needs of Asian airlines and
how they develop in 2019 will be eagerly watched by airlines in the
region. At the end of 2018 there were healthy order backlogs for
both types, 45 for CRJ and 52 for Q400, not taking into account the
recent orders mentioned above.
In some ways Embraer is in a similar position to Airbus, looking
to carve out a market for their innovative E2 family of aircraft, which
launched in 2018 with Norwegian carrier Widderoe.
Embraer Commercial Aviation head of Asia-Pacific Cesar Pereira
said that the entry into service (EIS) of the E190-E2 was ahead of
schedule and probably one of their best. “ We had an amazing EIS
in terms of the aircraft, readiness of the airline and our support
programme,” he said. “ The E2 benefited from the success of the E1
which had 15 million flight hours and more than 70 airlines flying it
when we started designing the E2.
“It’s part of the Embraer culture to do things right and we want
to play in the premier league,” he said. “So we benchmark against
Boeing and Airbus, we compete with them but we want to be like
the big ones.”
With the first E195-E2 expected to be delivered this year to Azul
Airlines, he said that 2019 is all about ramping up production, sales
Embraer ’s strategy is based around marketing four airline appli-
cations for the E-Jet; natural growth, direct replacement, right-sizing
and new markets. Looking at Asia, Pereira said that there are oppor-
tunities everywhere because of the flexibility of the Embraer aircraft
family, with a solution for every segment. “ The E-Jet is still growing
in Japan which is the largest market for this aircraft in Asia-Pacific.
We have 44, soon to be 46, flying in Japan and it keeps on growing.”
Pereira also sees opportunity in the increasingly congested and
slot-constrained airports in Southeast Asia, where he disputes the
thinking that the answer is to reduce frequency and increase capac-
ity. “I say, why do you need to fly to that airport as not all passengers
want to go to Manilla, Bangkok or Jakarta,” he explained. “Get them to
go point-to-point on the right size jet and away from this congestion.”
In Australia Pereira says there are around 100 old aircraft, like
Fokker 100s and BAE 146s, that will need replacing at some point
and the E-Jet is the most efficient to take their place. “Old airplanes
burn a lot of fuel so when people start complaining about 100 old
airplanes putting tonnes of CO2 into the atmosphere
then it’s time to move to cleaner and more efficient
aircraft,” he said.
Mitsubishi’s MRJ programme continues to make
slow but steady progress with the December 2018
announcement that it had received Type Inspection
Authorisation from the Japanese Civil Aviation Bureau.
This allows Mitsubishi to begin certification flights for
the MRJ 90 using the fleet of flight test aircraft it has
in the US and it expects this to start early in 2019.
Mitsubishi Aircraft Corporation’s president, Hisakazu Mizutani, said:
“It has been a long but necessary journey for the development of our
MRJ programme and for the commercial aviation industry in Japan.”
In March, the US Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) granted
authorisation for a team to be on-board the MRJ 90 in support of
certification activities and FAA pilots have since flown two famil-
iarisation flights in the aircraft. It has taken 10 years to get to this
point and Mitsubishi are holding to their forecast that the MRJ 90
will enter service in 2020.
The other Asian manufacturer eyeing off the regional market is
the state-owned Commercial Aircraft Corporation of China (Comac)
which is building the ARJ21. This aircraft has a capacity of 90 seats
and is said to be aimed squarely at the regional market where Air-
bus, Bombardier and Embraer are so active. Two carriers in China,
Chengdu Airlines and Genghis Khan Airlines, are flying the aircraft
and in March Bloomberg reported that there are 815 orders from 28
customers in hand. Given that Comac and Boeing are partners in
an assembly centre for 737 MAX aircraft in Shanghai and Boeing is
soon to be the leader of a joint-venture with Embraer, this could be
an interesting scenario where Boeing is competing against one of its
It’s part of the Embraer culture to do things right
and we want to play in the premier league. So we
benchmark against Boeing and Airbus, we compete
with them but we want to be like the big ones.
CESAR PEREIRA, EMBRAER
▲ Embraer is in a similar position to Airbus , looking to carve out a
market for their innovative E2 family of aircraft.
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