Embraer formally announced its its E-Jet replacement today, now known as the E2. The OEM will be offering E175-E2, E190-E2, and E195-E2. Embraer says the E190-E2 is expected to enter service in the first half of 2018. The E195-E2 is slated to enter service in 2019 and the E175-E2 in 2020.
Embraer went to to advise that in a typical single-class layout, the E175-E2 is extended by one row, compared to the current generation E175, and will seat up to 88 passengers, while the E190-E2 keeps the same size as the E190, of up to 106 seats. The E195-E2, compared to the current E195, has grown three seat rows and will accommodate up to 132 seats. The company also says “New aerodynamically advanced, high-aspect ratio, distinctively shaped wings, improved systems and avionics, including 4th generation full fly-by-wire flight controls, and Pratt & Whitney’s PurePowerTM Geared Turbofan high by-pass ratio engines (PW1700G on the E175-E2, PW1900G on the E190-E2 and E195-E2) will result in double-digit reductions in fuel consumption, emissions, noise and maintenance costs, and increased aircraft availability. The E-Jets E2 will be capable of achieving similar costs per seat of larger re-engined narrowbody aircraft, with significantly lower costs per trip, thus creating new opportunities for lower risk development of new markets and fleet right-sizing by airlines.”
The E2 is a shot across the bow of Bombardier. Bombardier’s CSeries remains the only new airplane in its class, the E2 is a derivative, but benefits from a large in-service customer base. Airlines will now have to consider the trade off – which is lower risk? The E2 is being built on a known airplane with a big customer base. Embraer has 1,200 E-Jets on order and 950 in service. This is a great base to work from. But will its economics match the CSeries?
The E2 will see engine thrust grow from 13,800 (E-175) and 18,500 (E-190/5) to 17,000 and 19,000 respectively. Bigger thrust means heavier airplanes, even with a new wing. Note the smaller E2 needs over 23% more thrust.
It is early days and yet Embraer has already announced 100 orders from Skywest (remember last year’s big MRJ order?) plus 165 LoIs. This is a great start, so let’s take a look at the E-175. The larger E2 airplanes are CSeries focused and deserve a separate post.
The E-175 has an empty weight of 559lbs/seat. We don’t have the empty weight of the E2 version but,based on thrust requirements, it is likely to be heavier.
The comparative airplane is the Bombardier CRJ900 – which requires 13,360 in thrust (3% less than the current E-175) and comes in at 549lbs/seat. The numbers are close and the CRJ is likely to be outclassed by the E2 version.
The E-175-E2 should be out by 2020, which gives Bombardier time to consider a response. What might this be?
Given the resources that have gone into the CSeries, we would assume that Bombardier would prefer a lower cost and risk solution. We think that Bombardier could take a leaf out of the well-thumbed derivative book. Everyone else is doing it, why not them?
Might a GTF solution be part of this? For example, taking the engine of the MRJ might do the trick. Even the smaller of the two MRJ engines, with 15,600 in thrust provides a CRJ900 with nearly 17% more power. Along with this will come a far smaller noise footprint and better fuel burn. Clearly there will be a weight penalty because the GTF will be heavier than the CF34 currently used. However, much of the derivative book was written by Bombardier and we think they could pull off the design changes needed. Moreover we would guess Bombardier could get this done well before 2020.