Embraer delivered on Thursday its first E195-E2 next-generation aircraft on Thursday to launch customer Azul Brazilian Airlines and its lessor, AerCap. The delivery ceremony took place at Embraer’s main factory in São José dos Campos, Brazil, northeast of Sao Paulo.
The E195-E2 is the next-generation equivalent of the E195, predominantly in service with Azul and European carriers, and older sibling to the E190-E2, which Embraer first delivered last year to Widerøe Airlines. Brazil’s latest aerospace export is the largest Embraer, and, thus, Latin America has ever built.
Executives of the three involved companies kicked off the ceremony with David Neeleman, Azul’s founder and chairman, John Rodgerson, CEO of Azul, John Slattery, president of commercial aircraft at Embraer, and Gus Kelly, CEO of AerCap all in attendance. Brazilian native Neeleman has a long history with the E190 program, selecting the previous generation Embraer E190 for operations with JetBlue Airways that still remain today.
Azul, Neeleman’s South American venture, was especially happy upon the startup of E195-E2 operations. Both Neeleman and Rodgerson talked about the economic advantages of the aircraft compared to the older generation E-Jet, including a reduction of more than 20 percent on the cost per seat that will virtually level the cost of the 136-seat E195-E2 in comparison to the 174-seat A320neo. In high-frequency and corporate markets, Azul will have an advantage in terms of fleet flexibility, using each aircraft model according to the demand for specific times of the day.
Azul’s order consists of 51 E195-E2, six of which will have arrived by the end of this year. Azul’s strategy will be to replace the current generation aircraft as fast as possible, which will include selling them to Neeleman’s new startup, Moxy Airlines, in the U.S. while it awaits the Airbus A220s it has on order.
The first aircraft bore the registration PR-PJN and was named “Sou Azul,” Portuguese for “I am Azul.” Sporting a special livery promoting Azul’s corporate values, the aircraft is similar to JetBlue’s “Bluemanity” special livery concept.
The registration PR-PJN, as was later revealed, is a tribute to Pedro Janot, Azul’s former and first chief executive officer, who pretty much built the values that Azul still defends to this day. In 2013, Janot suffered a serious accident and injured his spine, forcing him to step down from the role of CEO; however, he still has strong connections to the airline.
The executives were the first to board the aircraft, staying inside in order to familiarize themselves with and to present the cabin.
The interior cabin represents a big step up compared to the old, 2008-introduced current generation cabin. There are 136 seats divided into 34 rows in a 2-2 configuration. The first six rows, plus the emergency exit, are “Espaço Azul” (Blue Space) seats, with more seat pitch offered at an additional cost. The blue headrest differentiates these seats from the others.
The remaining seats feature a uniform light gray color throughout.
Every seat, as it is an Azul domestic-mainline standard, is equipped with 13.1-inch personal in-flight entertainment screens, which also represent a huge advancement from the very outdated E1 system. While the screens are bigger, the system overall is much more intuitive and simpler to use. Almost equal to the A320neo system, the system also features on-demand content.
Though it is not an onboard product enhancement, the wing project of the E2 also represents a huge evolution on Embraer’s side. Being so aerodynamically efficient, the wings no longer require the winglets seen on all current-generation E-Jet aircraft.
It was also announced that Azul’s fleet will begin to operate with WiFi in the upcoming months.
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