Embraer has officially launched a Passenger to Freighter conversion program for the first generation of E190 and E195 jets, it announced on March 7. This confirms its announcement at last November’s Dubai Airshow that it would make a decision before the middle of this year. In a media statement, Embraer says that these E-Jets freighters are designed to meet the changing demands of e-commerce and modern trade that require fast deliveries and decentralized operations.

Perfectly positioned to fill the gap in the freighter market between turboprops and larger narrowbody jets, our P2F E-Jet conversion hits the market as the demand for airfreight continues to take off, and as e-commerce and trade, in general, undergoes a global structural transformation,” said Arjan Meijer, President and CEO Embraer Commercial Aviation. Last December, Meijer gave a sneak preview of the freighter.

Embraer goes on to say that the freighter conversion is available for all pre-owned E190 and E195 aircraft, with entry into service expected in early 2024. Embraer sees a market for this freighter size of approximately 700 aircraft over 20 years. This initiative comes as Embraer addresses three major opportunities:

  • Current small narrowbody freighter airframes are aged, inefficient, highly polluting, and well within their retirement window;
  • The ongoing transformation of the intersection between commerce, trade, and logistics, has led to unprecedented demand for airfreight across the board, and more so for same-day deliveries and decentralized operations; the perfect mission for E-Jet sized freighters;
  • The earlier E-Jets that entered service around 10-15 years ago are now emerging from long-term leases and beginning their replacement cycle, continuing over the coming decade. The full cargo conversion will extend the life of the most mature E-Jets by another 10 to 15 years, and encourage their replacement with more efficient, more sustainable, and quieter aircraft.

Embraer believes its E-Jet P2F conversions will deliver “head-turning performance and economics”. They claim an E-Jet Freighter will have over 50% more volume capacity, three times the range of large cargo turboprops, and up to 30% lower operating costs than narrowbodies.

The E-Jet air freighters will provide fast, reliable, and cost-effective service to freight forwarders, extend the revenue earning life of E-Jets, support E-Jets’ asset values and create a strong business case encouraging the replacement of earlier aircraft with modern, more efficient, passenger aircraft,” said Johann Bordais, President & CEO, Embraer Services and Support. “With more than 1,600 E-Jets delivered globally, customers of this new freighter segment will benefit from well established, mature, global services network, in addition to a comprehensive portfolio of products ready to support their operation from day one.”

Conversions are done in-house in Brazil

The conversion will be performed at Embraer’s facilities in Brazil and includes main deck front cargo door; cargo handling system; floor reinforcement; Rigid Cargo Barrier (RCB) – 9G Barrier with access door; cargo smoke detection system, including class “E” extinguishers in upper cargo compartment; Air Management System changes (cooling, pressurization, etc); interior removal and provisions for hazardous material transportation. The E190F can handle a payload of 23,600lb (10,700kg) while the E195F a payload of 27,100 lb (12,300 kg)

The idea proposed is timely for Embraer. There is an overhang with newish E-jets and the newer E2s available.  The E2 has been selling slower compared to the competition.  This is not because the E2 is a less compelling offering – rather the competition is frequently packaged by Airbus in such a way to stymie primarily Boeing and the Embraer with A321neo/A220 deals.  This has proven to be a highly effective maneuver.

Therefore the idea of offering  E190/195 operators a second life is smart.  The more E190/195s are converted the more operators will opt for the newer E2.  Moreover, the sharply spiking fuel price makes the E2 more attractive and the “E1” version a geat light freighter solution.  Lessors owning “E1s” should grab at the conversion to ensure a longer revenue tail from their assets.  The solution is not only well-tailored for e-commerce, but it is also a great mail solution.

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Addison Schonland
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Co-Founder AirInsight. My previous life includes stints at Shell South Africa, CIC Research, and PA Consulting. Got bitten by the aviation bug and ended up an Avgeek. Then the data bug got me, making me a curious Avgeek seeking data-driven logic. Also, I appreciate conversations with smart people from whom I learn so much. Summary: I am very fortunate to work with and converse with great people.

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