MIAMI – In a press released today,  Brazilian aerospace conglomerate Embraer confirmed it had delivered 71 jets in the fourth quarter of 2020. Of these, 28 were commercial aircraft, and 43 were executive jets, including 23 light and 20 large ones.

The breakdown in the delivery figures reflects a decline of 10 aircraft in the same quarter relative to 2019 and a shift in private and commercial delivery numbers. Let’s dive in.

Image: Embraer

Total Deliveries

Embraer delivered a total of 130 jets, comprising 44 commercial and 86 executive jets (56 light and 30 large), in 2020. It shows a relatively high decline of 35% compared to 2019. It is worth knowing that Embraer delivered 198 Jets during 2019. Surprisingly the number of delivered executive jets is double compare to delivered commercial jets during 2020.

The firm emphasizes that deliveries of the final quarter of 2020 improved compared to the lowest second and third quarters of 2020. However, they were strongly affected, primarily in commercial aviation, due to the COVID-19 pandemic. As of December 31, the backlog of firm orders was worth US$14.4bn.

As stated in the release most deliveries in 2020 belong to the E175 and the Phenom 300. That is to say, Embraer delivered 32 E175 and 56 Phenom 300 in 2020.

Embraer E175-E2. Photo: Embraer

Commercial Aircraft

This year, in the commercial aircraft segment, Embraer also delivered its promises to its growing new customers. The Belarusian national air carrier Belavia (B2) took delivery of its first E195-E2 jet. On its part, Congo Airways (8Z), in addition to the two current aircraft orders for the smaller E190-E2, has placed a firm order for two E195-E2 planes. Embraer’s 2020 fourth-quarter backlog contained this recent firm order.

The backlog numbers in the release indicating that as of December 31, 2020, Embraer has delivered a total of 1623 E-Jet family so far. However, 281 of the total firm orders are in the queue for delivery. And 399 commercial aircraft are in optional order.

The backlog table in the press suggests that E195 E2 is first in comparison to E175 by just 7 more firm orders. Moreover, most optional orders in the backlog also belong to the already most successful member of the family, the E175.

Embraer’s First in the Backlog, E195 E2. Photo: Embraer

Business Aviation Market

The already attractive segment of aviation seems grasped more attention during the pandemic. Although the delivered executive number declined compared to 2019, however in comparison to commercial jets it doubled!

The firm shipped the first of the Praetor 600 to Flexjet during 4Q20. The firm is the Praetor fleet launch customer.
Another interesting piece of news of the business unit is the partnership with Porsche to build Duet. A Duet is a limited number of 10 edition of pairing Embraer Phenom 300E plane, and Porsche 911 TurboS car.

Embraer has also announced the completion of the first European upgrade of the Legacy 450 to the Praetor 500. Although the firm did not mention the customer. The conversion was carried out in Paris, France, at the Embraer Executive Jets Support Center at Le Bourget International Airport.

Brazilian Air force’s KC-390 with refueling Pod. Photo: Embraer

Peaceful Defense

While in the commercial sector the airframer was moderately busy, its defense sector endured a quiet peaceful year.
As the press release suggests, in the fourth quarter, Embraer Defense & Security handed over the fourth C-390 Millennium multi-mission medium airlifter to the Brazilian Air Force (FAB). All 28 FAB’s KC-390 Millennium units are fitted to perform aerial refueling missions.

Embraer also shipped to the FAB the first two modernized EMB 145 AEW&C (Airborne Early Warning and Control) aircraft, designated E-99. As part of the deal, the firm will modernize three additional E-99 airplanes.

Antônio Milena/ABr, CC BY 3.0 BR, via Wikimedia Commons

Future of Air Travel

In all, we can see that the number of executive jets flies higher above that of commercial jets, especially during the pandemic. One might get surprised to see how the future of air travel will thus be affected by COVID-19 and it is signaling a hidden change.

The pandemic could put an end to an era of large transport aircraft and kickstart the era of small aircraft, privatized air travel. The thinking now would entail having a more affordable and sustainable air transport industry than the current version.

In addition, a good number of conceptual designs around novel ideas surrounding electric propulsion and hydrogen-powered aircraft could be an indication we might be heading to this model in air travel.

Within this innovative sector, there are big players such as Boeing, Airbus, GKN as well as startups such as Zero via and Pipistrel. And perhaps instead of the hub-to-hub business model, point-to-point could be more feasible and comfortable in passengers’ view.

Featured image: Embraer PR-ZIQ Embraer 190-400STD. Photo: Fabrizio Spicuglia/Airways