However tempting it is to compare Embraer's launch orders for the new E-Jet E2 with Bombardier's lack of orders here for the CSeries, the companies are aiming at different markets. But there is an overlap that could prove crucial in the longer term.
Embraer launched its three-aircraft E-Jet E2 family with 365 orders and other commitments anchored by its traditional regional-airline customer base. Bombardier, meanwhile, is trying to carve out a niche for its CSeries. Both are eyeing the potential market for their new aircraft at those airlines now ordering Airbus A320NEOs and Boeing 737 MAXs by the hundreds.
The E-Jet E2 “is not just a reengining—we are investing heavily to achieve the efficiency of a clean-sheet aircraft,” says Luis Carlos Affonso, chief operating officer for commercial aviation. The new family comprises the 88-seat E175-E2, one seat-row longer than today's Embraer 170; the 106-seat E190-E2, the same size as the Embraer 190; and the 132-seat E195-E2, three seat-rows longer than the Embraer 195.
Affonso says the E2's lower fuel burn per trip versus the new narrowbody airliners “will be an important market driver,” allowing airlines to “right-size” their fleets by operating the E190-E2 or E195-E2 on services that do not support an A319NEO or A320NEO. Bombardier is trying to make a similar case for the 135-160-seat CS300, arguing it has similar seat costs to a 180-seater but 20% lower trip costs.
The complementarity argument did not prevail at EasyJet, which announced plans here to buy 100 A320NEOs after evaluating the CS300 as well as the 737 MAX. Bombardier says it continues to talk to the European low-cost carrier about its 150-passenger segment, and does not believe the door is closed to the CSeries.
The E195-E2's cash operating cost per seat is 5% lower than the 134-seat A319NEO, but its fuel burn per trip is 20% lower, Affonso says. Embraer also believes it can compete against Bombardier's smaller 110-seat CS100. “The CS100 is bigger than the 190, which has the right size and a lower trip cost. The 195 has more seats, and is the most optimized aircraft. The CS300 is a bigger aircraft and competes more directly with Airbus and Boeing,” he says.
Staying away from Airbus and Boeing territory is key to Embraer's commercial-aircraft strategy as the company looks to grow. “The fact that defense can grow to be a solid business and business aviation to be another important pillar is embedded in our decision not to try to engage in larger commercial aircraft,” says President/CEO Frederico Fleury Curado. “Diversification is a need for us. I don't see either being larger than commercial aircraft, at least on the visible horizon, but they can be important enough.”