Swiss regional airline Helvetic has upsized its Embraer-order by converting four E190-E2s to E195-E2, the airframer announced on July 15. It confirms a trend that customers opt for the bigger type when they place a follow-on order with Embraer.

Helvetic has been an -operator since November 1 last year, flying regional routes on behalf of partner-airline SWISS. The first E2 was delivered on October 28, the fifth this July 1. This was the 1.600th Embraer E-jet to have been built. It flew from Natal to Zurich in one stretch, flying the 7.488 km-leg in a record 9 hours and 10 minutes.

The airline placed its E2-order at the 2018 Farnborough Airshow, announcing a firm order for 12 E190-E2s plus options for another 12. The agreement included the conversion right to switch to the E195-E2. Helvetic has now converted four E190-E2s to E195-E2s. All deliveries will happen in 2021, with the majority in HY1. Recently, Helvetic said it had deferred all deliveries scheduled for this year to 2021. The airline has been an operator of eight E190-E1s, which replaced the Fokker 100. Eight E2s have been placed on long-term lease to SWISS.

Conversion shows confidence in the market
At the first aircraft delivery ceremony last October in Zurich, Helvetic-CEO Tobias Pogorevc told Airinsight that he might convert his order for the smaller to the bigger version “but this depends on the market.” Today’s announcement confirms the confidence he has in the market, which is trying to recover from the worst crisis it has ever seen. The airline stopped flying for some months on March 25.
Helvetic-owner Martin Ebner said in October that if the E2 performs according to plan, he might convert all 12 options into firm orders. This might be a step too far in the short-term.

In the Embraer press release, Pogorevc says: “The Embraer strikes a good balance between seating capacity, range, fuel consumption, and environmentally friendly operation. Between 120 and 150 seats, it has virtually no competition in the segment. Operating a single fleet – in terms of cockpit – with varying seating capacities will enable us to expand our organization’s operational flexibility and autonomy.” The E195-E2 will have 134 seats compared to 110 in the E190-E2.

Helvetic will join the list of customers that already include Azul, Binter, KLM/AerCap, Air Peace. The biggest version has scored 148 orders and 47 options, outperforming the with now 23 firm orders and 61 options. At the end of Q1, Embraer had delivered eight and twelve E190-E2. So far, the smallest version in the family, the E175-E2, is without a single commitment.

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