Embraer is studying the cargo market with a view of launching a freighter conversion programme for its E-Jets after identifying increased demand for smaller cargo aircraft as a result of the boom in air freight seen in the current aviation landscape.
“We see exponential growth that requires different logistics and a smaller aircraft to be able to address the needs of the consumers and in a more reliable way,” says Embraer’s vice-president of marketing Rodrigo Silva e Souza during a briefing at the Dubai air show. “So there is a need for a new size of aircraft.”
The Brazilian manufacturer is forecasting demand for around 700 aircraft in the up-to-150-seat segment over the next 20 years as part of its latest market outlook – the first time it has included freight in its forecast.
”We are seeing a lot of interest from customers. We have not launched the programme yet, but we are really seeing a big demand for this size of aircraft and we are working internally on a project for this. We see the bigger demand for the 195-size.”
”It is about the same-day delivery. It was something that was initially the exception and now has become the rule. And to have same-day delivery, you need the smaller gauge to increase frequency,” he says as the airframer aims to develop a secondary market for converted models in parallel to E-jet sales
”You’ll see a decision in the next six months hopefully from Embraer on whether we proceed on that, with roughly a time-to-market of around 24 months,” Embraer Commercial Aviation chief executive Arjan Meijer noted.
Last year, Brazil’s Azul Linhas Aereas conducted the first cargo-only Embraer E-Jet in the world with the larger E195 model. There are no programs of full-cargo conversion of the series, nor is the aircraft sold by the factory in a full-cargo configuration.
By Victor Shalton Odhiambo