Brazilian aerospace major Embraer’s new-generation smaller (fewer than 150 seats) single-aisle airliners, the E2 family, are attracting considerable interest in Africa, Embraer commercial aviation VP: Middle East and Africa Raul Villaron tells Engineering News.
From smallest to biggest, the E2 family is composed of the E175-E2, the E190-E2 and the E195-E2. “There is huge interest from Africa.” As a consequence, the first continental tour by an E2 company demonstrator fitted with a full passenger cabin (an E190-E2) has been undertaken across the continent. This tour included a stop and a demonstration flight in South Africa.
“The E2 [family] is very competitive in terms of cost,” he reports. “Its seat costs are very similar to its bigger competitors and it has a huge trip cost advantage. The E195-E2 and [Airbus] A220-100 (previously the Bombardier CS100) are the same weight but the 195-E2 has 10% more seats.”
In comparison with the previous-generation E-Jets family (now being referred to as the E1 family, and comprising the E170, the E175, the E190 and the E195), the E2s have new engines, new wings (each model of the E2 has its own optimised wing design), full fly-by-wire controls and other airframe refinements. The E2 family wings are the highest aspect ratio wings fitted to single-aisle airliners today. (‘High aspect ratio’ means the wings are long in span and narrow in chord.)
The fuel burn of the E2, in comparison with the E1, has been reduced by 17.3%, of which 12% comes from the new engines and 5.3% from the new wings, the control system and other airframe refinements. The fuel burn reduction target given to Embraer’s engineers was actually lower than this, at 16%.
The E175-E2 can carry 80 passengers in a three-class configuration, or 88 to 90 seats in two alternative single-class configurations. At full load, in a single-class layout, this model has a range of 3 815 km. The E190-E2, which is now in commercial service with launch customer Widerøe, of Norway, can take 96 passengers in a two-class layout, or 106 or 114 seats in two alternative single-class configurations. With maximum passengers, in a single-class configuration, the E190-E2 has a range of 5 278 km. The E195-E2 can accommodate 120 seats in a two-class arrangement, or 132 or 146 seats in two alternative single-class layouts. With a full load of passengers, in a single-class configuration, the E195-E2 has a range of 4 437 km.
Currently, some 150 Embraer commercial aircraft are flown by 45 operators in 23 countries in Africa. E1 family models are flown by Air Burkina (two E170s), Airlink (of South Africa: two E170s and three E190s), Egypt Air (the second-biggest such fleet on the continent, with 12 E170s), Fastjet (two E190s), Kenya Airways (the biggest African fleet, with 15 E190s), LAM-Mozambique Airlines (two E190s), Petro Air (of Libya: three E170s) and Royal Air Maroc (four E190s).
“There is still a lot of interest [in Africa] in the E1,” he points out. “We will keep the E1 in production as long as we see demand, and we see demand for a long time. We have a very efficient hybrid production line in Brazil, so we can produce both types without any disruption.”