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Embraer Studies Turboprop Development With Boeing
Embraer, the world’s third-largest commercial aircraft producer and leader of the regional jets market is in “advanced stages of studying” a new model of passenger turboprop in cooperation with Boeing, stated Reuters this Monday.
According to the global news agency, the size range of the aircraft would be similar or larger than that of the leading product of the market, the ATR 72, which carries about 70 passengers and the project is pending “corporate approvals”.
Embraer Commercial Aviation’s CEO John Slattery told Reuters the capacity of the new aircraft will naturally be just below that of the Embraer E2, which currently goes from 88 to 146 in a single-class configuration. “[The new project] sits in our target market, which we have always been clear is below 150 seats, and will have natural adjacency to the E2 offering”.
The aircraft, in this sense, will directly compete with ATR’s model 72-600, which can carry up to 78 passengers in a high-density configuration, and with the 90-seater Dash 8-400, now sold by De Havilland, from Canada.
Embraer is in “meaningful” discussions with General Electric, Rolls-Royce and Pratt & Whitney for the production of a new engine for the turboprop, the agency reported
Partnering with Boeing
Talks about a new Embraer turboprop have been ongoing since 2017, according to other reports from Reuters. In 2018, despite mentioning the company was fully focused on the E2, Slattery admitted there was a “small stealth team” working on the project.
Nevertheless, the executive stated the project will only go forward in the terms of the joint venture between Embraer and Boeing, given the high costs of developing a whole new project from scratch.
“The amount of balance sheet required for a new state-of-the-art commercial aircraft is of an order of magnitude that we simply don’t have the appetite for, outside of the joint-venture environment”, to which he added, “no JV [joint venture], no TP [turboprop].”
In 2018, Embraer and Boeing signed an agreement that would create a new joint-venture. The new company, labeled “Boeing Brasil–Commercial”, will include Embraer’s commercial aircraft branch, including the E2 program.
Boeing has an 80 percent stake at the company, while Embraer has the remaining 20 percent. The venture is still pending approval from some key regulators, including the European Union, according to Reuters.
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