Embraer progressing well with India in building a new-generation turboprop aircraft


Embraer has said its discussions with Indian and global companies for building a new generation turboprop aircraft are progressing well. The Brazilian plane maker, which produces both civil and military jets, has been scouting for partners for its proposed aircraft programme, which could include the manufacture of planes as well.

“We are in discussions with potential partners in India and globally on a selection of partnering options for the next generation turboprop aircraft — including manufacturing. These discussions are ongoing and progressing well. The next generation turboprop aircraft is in the development phase and a decision to launch the project has not been made.”


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Embraer shared this project update in the backdrop of Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s recent remarks on how India could become a manufacturing hub for large passenger aircraft. He made the remarks at the inauguration of the Tata-Airbus C-295 aircraft manufacturing facility in Vadodara on October 30.

Embraer has more than 1,700 commercial jets in service globally. In July, it released a 20-year market outlook, estimating global demand for turboprops could touch 2,280 units. Of this, it said, around 960 units could come from the Asia Pacific region.

Embraer predicts the world will need around 11,000 new aircraft with up to 150-seats over the next 20 years. The replacement of ageing aircraft will account for 57% of all new deliveries, while 43% will be used to grow markets.

The plane maker feels that there will be a trend toward smaller aircraft, driven by an increasing need for flexibility, connectivity, and efficiency. And this is where its new generation turboprop (TPNG) comes into the picture.

Embraer Commercial Aviation president and CEO Arjan Meijer said the new aircraft “is not a turboprop as we know it.” It is more of an E-Jet E-2 aircraft with a different form of propulsion rather than an improved turboprop. The TPNG will have the same cabin experience as the E2, and moving the engines to the rear will mean a much quieter cabin.

Embraer is looking to launch the project sometime in the middle of next year so that the plane could enter service around 2028.

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In India, Star Air operates five ERJ145 planes and recently signed an agreement to induct two E175 aircraft.

The E175 is its most popular aircraft and US airline Sky West is the largest operator of these planes, with 230 jets. In India, Star Air operates five ERJ145 planes and recently signed an agreement to induct two E175 aircraft. At present, there are also 22 Embraer-made business jets in the country.

Airbus did not respond to a query on the assembly of planes in India. “Boeing is in a sweet spot to continue delivering on our commitment to Aatmanirbhar Bharat,” the US plane maker said. “Our business and supply chain teams are constantly evaluating opportunities where India can continue to become a more significant part of Boeing’s global supply chain,” it added.

Boeing annually sources around USD 1 billion worth of aircraft parts from its network of over 300 suppliers in India. It, however, manufactures all its passenger planes in the US. It has a completion centre in China where seats are fitted in planes built and flown from the US. Airbus has aircraft assembly lines in China and the US.

“Aircraft production rates have still not recovered to pre-Covid levels. Manufacturing and assembly would require billions of dollars in investment plus certified and skilled manpower. Then there is the question of market size. Manufacturers will not duplicate facilities unless there is a sound business case,” said an aviation industry veteran.

(With Inputs from Business Standard)