MIAMI — While powerhouses Airbus and Boeing have not focused on smaller jets, Embraer has logged 1,437 orders and 394 options for the E-Jet series. The company is also facing new competition from Bombardier, Comac, Mitsubishi, and Sukhoi, which are introducing similarly-sized aircraft.
This suggests an exciting future for this market. Join us on this Flashback Friday as we look back at the history of the E-Jet family as it enters a new era.
Origins and Development
The Brazilian aerospace manufacturer Embraer flew its first passenger jet on August 11, 1995. This twin-engine aircraft, known as the ERJ-145, typically seats 50 passengers. The ERJ-145 underwent various upgrades to increase range and weight.
In addition, variants like the ERJ-135 and ERJ-140 come from the basic ERJ-145 design. Embraer also introduced private and military versions of this jet.
In 1997, Embraer began studies for a 70-seat aircraft. The new aircraft would have the ERJ-170 designation. The original plan was to retain the nose and cockpit of the ERJ-145 while having a new wing and wider fuselage. However, by the end of the decade, Embraer decided to go with a fresh design, now known as the E-Jet.
Embraer introduced the E-Jet family at the Paris Air Show in June 1999. Production began in July 2000, and the manufacturer built a new factory for future E-Jets at its São José dos Campos facility, which began producing them in 2002.
The first aircraft and base model was the E170, and it rolled out on October 29, 2001. It conducted its maiden flight on February 19, 2002. After two years of tests, the aviation authorities of Brazil, Europe, and the U.S. issued certification in February 2004.
The E-Jet family consists of the E170, E175, E190, and E195. Moreover, the company introduced a private version derived from the E-190, known as the Lineage 1000. The E-Jet family essentially has two branches – the E170/175 and E190/195.
The latter are stretched versions with engines that are more powerful, larger wings and stabilizers, and a strengthened landing gear structure.
All E-Jets have a 2-2 seating configuration in economy, and a 1-2 typical premium arrangement. Furthermore, the family retains identical fuselage cross-sections and cockpit avionics, and they feature winglets for improved aerodynamic performance and efficiency. Flight crews can cross-train with ease among all variants, given the 89 percent commonality between the short E170/175 and longer E190/195.
E-Jets can also operate from smaller regional airports. In addition, an attractive feature for customers is the use of quieter General Electric GE CF-34 engines, which allows them to operate in airports with strict noise restrictions.
One of these airports is London City Airport (LCY). Besides noise restrictions, this airport also requires steeper approaches for which Embraer implemented enhancements to allow its E-Jets to operate at LCY.
To date, the E-Jet series has received 1,437 orders and has delivered 1,191 of them. Current options total 394 airplanes. The most prolific member of the family is the E190 with 578 firm orders, 88 options, and 523 deliveries.
On September 13, 2013, Embraer marked a milestone when it delivered its 1,100 E-Jet to Republic Airlines, which operates this E175 for American Eagle.
LOT Polish Airlines received the first E170 and started service on March 17, 2004.
The E170 seats 70 passengers in a typical two-class setting and flies up to 2,102 nmi (2,418 mi or 3,892 km). Additionally, the aircraft has a length of 98 ft. 1 in (29.9 m), a height of 32 ft. 4 in (9.67m), and a wingspan of 85 ft. 4 in. (26 m). Its two GE CF34-8E engines produce 13,800 lb. (61.4 kN) of thrust each.
The E175 made its maiden flight in June 2003 and entered service with launch customer Air Canada in July 2005.
The main difference, compared to the E170, is a fuselage stretch of 5 ft. 10 in. (1.78 m). It can seat 78 people in a standard two-class configuration and can fly 2,001 nmi (2,302 mi or 3,706 km). It rapidly overtook the E170 as the preferred choice for customers of these two short versions. The E175 uses the same engines as the E170.
The maiden flight of the E190 was on March 12, 2004. The largest order, 100 of this variant, came from launch customer JetBlue Airways, and the airline has taken an additional four options. The fuselage length of the E190 is 118 ft. 11 in. (36.24 m).
Moreover, its height is 34 ft. 7 in. (10.28 m), and its wingspan measures 94 ft. 3 in. (28.72 m). A typical two-class layout for the E190 is 94 passengers, with a maximum range of 2,402 nmi (2,763 mi or 4,448 km).
The Lineage 1000 is the business jet version of the E190. It can seat 19 passengers in luxury seating with a range of 4,200 nmi (4,830 mi or 7,773 km). This variant fist flew on May 2, 2006, and Embraer delivered it to its first customer in December 2008.
The E195 is a 7 ft. 11 in. (2.41 m) stretch of the E190, and it retains the other dimensions of the E190. Both aircraft are powered by GE CF34-10E turbofans rated at 18,500 lb. (82.3 kN) of thrust each. The E190 seats 106 passengers in a normal two-class configuration. Furthermore, its maximum range is 2,201 nmi (2,531 mi or 4,077 km).
This longest member of the E-Jet family first flew on December 7, 2004. UK low-cost carrier Flybe launched the aircraft with 14 orders and 12 options. Embraer briefly considered a further stretch, calling it the E195X, for approximately 130 passengers. However, the range did not satisfy customer requirements.
March 24, 2014, SkyWest Airlines took delivery of the first E175 “E” (Enhanced) and introduced it into service under the United Express brand. Mesa Airlines, also on behalf of United Express, and Republic Airlines, on behalf of American Eagle, received their first “E”s in the months that followed. This upgrade contains a series of fuselage and engine performance improvements.
The most visible characteristic of the enhanced E175, compared to the original, is a redesigned larger winglet, which contributes to a 5.5 percent improvement in fuel burn. Other enhancements include new avionics and interiors, as well as noise and maintenance cost reductions. The other three members of the E-Jet family will also receive these upgrades: 5 percent improvement for the E170, 3.5 percent for the E190, and 4 percent for the E195.
The current “E” improvements are a bridge before the introduction of the E-Jet E2 family. The E2 consists of new E175, E190, and E195 models, and it will enter service in 2018.
Embraer expects this variant to deliver a double-digit fuel burn improvement. While the E2 is not a full redesign, its key feature is the use of geared turbofan engines supplied exclusively by Pratt & Whitney. Furthermore, Embraer forecasts 3,765 requirements for this new series of aircraft over the next 20 years.