Live: Widerøe Takes Delivery Of The World’s First Embraer E190-E2 (+Photos/Videos)

Live: Widerøe Takes Delivery Of The World’s First Embraer E190-E2 (+Photos/Videos)

Reported by Enrique Perrella in São Paulo, and James Field

SÃO JOSE DOS CAMPOS – Widerøe and Embraer have celebrated yet another tremendous milestone in the regional jet industry.

The first E190-E2 has been officially delivered to Widerøe in a ceremony that was characterized by an energetic crowd, a proud group of executives from both the airline and the manufacturer, and an ambiance that was turned on with the tunes of typical Brazilian songs.

PHOTO: Enrique Perrella.

The ceremony began at 10:15 local time at the manufacturer’s facility in Sao Jose dos Campos, about an hour north of Sao Paulo.

A large crowd of Embraer employees, wearing blue shirts, along with some executives from both the airline and the manufacturer patiently expected for the first E190-E2 to be unveiled to the public

PHOTO: Enrique Perrella
PHOTO: Lucas Ulhoa

Following a few remarks from the ceremony’s host, in both Portuguese and English, the ceremony began.

To the tunes of one of Brazil’s most iconic songs, “Coisa Mais Linda” (Prettiest Thing), the E190-E2 was slowly towed into position, sparking up the excitement among the thousands of workers who excitingly saw their product in all its glory.

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Paulo Cesar de Souza e Silva, Embraer President & CEO, remarked, “When we launched this program in 2013, we said we’d deliver the first plane in 2018. Here we are, on time, handing out the first E190-E2 to Widerøe.”

Up next, the airline’s CEO, Stein Nielsen, admitted that it is “a pleasure to be, once again, part of the Embraer family.”

PHOTO: Enrique Perrella

According to him, Widerøe operated the EMB-120 Brasilia many years ago, and that today, together with Embraer, they are making history with this “new, beautiful aircraft.”

“Working with Embraer has been a pleasure,” Nielsen added. “Despite our cultural differences, we have worked together as one team.”

“I want to thank Embraer for this fantastic plane,” he said. “We are excited and eager to get our hands on several more of the Embraer E190-E2.”

PHOTO: Enrique Perrella

Three E190-E2s will join Widerøe’s fleet in the upcoming months. According to the airline, one plane will be delivered in April, a second in May, and the last in June.

The new jet will fly alongside Widerøe’s fleet of 43 Dash 8 aircraft, offering additional capacity and the potential to launch new routes across Scandinavia and Europe.

Following Nielsen’s remarks, the event sparked up with the tunes of a mix of Brazilian songs, including the traditional ‘Brazil (La La La La)’, which simultaneously launched a beautiful dance choreography performed by all the staff.

After a couple of minutes of high-energy dancing and very sparkling music, the crowd gave way to two E2 program employees who proudly carried the keys to the new plane.

The two smiling employees climbed to the top of the stage, where Embraer’s Paulo Cesar and John Slattery (President, CEO of Embraer Commercial Airplanes), together with Stein Nielsen and a few other Widerøe executives, happily awaited for the handover of the very first E2 plane.

Paulo Cesar found it hard to contain his excitement. As the vast crowd of Embraer staff invaded the surroundings of the stage, the CEO started jumping asking his employees to follow his lead. It was a very emotional moment for everyone involved.

The ceremony concluded with a countdown, the moment when Widerøe accepted the keys of its newest plane, and the first jet to join a fleet of turboprops.

The E2 Changes Widerøe’s Landscape

“The E190-E2 represents a big step for Widerøe,” told the airline’s CEO to Airways.

Even though the airline has been a prolific operator of Bombardier Dash 8 planes on flights as short as eight minutes, Nielsen is convinced that on some longer routes in which more capacity is needed, the E2 family of jets offers his airline the perfect ingredients for Widerøe’s “right-sizing strategy.”

Nielsen admitted having been approached by Bombardier and Mitsubishi, though he confirmed that neither of these manufacturers offers the right size of planes for Widerøe’s expansion.

“We are always willing to take a challenge,” he said.

“What we see in some of our routes, is that we need new technologies and more capacity. Especially more capacity than what our Q400s have to offer.”

Nielsen also revealed that he intends to “remain under the radar” in Norway, citing the fierce low-cost competition that reigns in that part of the world.

“We have Ryanair and Norwegian in our region,” he said. With the E2, Widerøe is staying away from these airline’s area of exploitation.

The Cabin

Each Widerøe E190-E2 comes equipped with 114 seats at a 29-inch seat pitch, which will feature a two-degree reclining option.

The cabin is laid out in the typical E-Jet 2-2 configuration and comes with tablet holders as well as separate power outlets.

According to Nielsen, the planes are ready to be equipped with in-flight WiFi. However, the airline is waiting until a new high-speed solution is developed by Panasonic to have it installed on the aircraft.

Widerøe claims that they aim to offer high-speed connectivity of as much as 250mbps, allowing customers to stream movies and TV shows via Netflix while in the air.

On top of this, Widerøe will offer buy-on-board catering to its customers on flights longer than 1.5 hours, according to Catharina Solli, the airline’s Public Relations Manager.

The new E2 jets will replace the Q400 on routes that require more capacity, more speed, and increased cost efficiencies.

“Currently, our longest route takes about 2.5 hours on the Q400,” said Nielsen. “With the E2, we’ll further develop those routes by increasing capacity and dropping the flying time to under 2 hours.”

Entry Into Service (EIS) Challenges

According to Embraer Commercial Airplanes CEO, John Slattery, he expects “a far more robust aircraft to enter into service than any other manufacturer in the world.”

“We have 20 million hours of experience with the E1 family,” he says. “We took all that tacit knowledge and experience to put this plane into service.”

When asked about Widerøe’s history of operating only turboprop airplanes and the likelihood of experiencing EIS woes, Stein Nielsen admitted feeling confident that the plane won’t have any problems. And should it occur, “we have a big Embraer team in Norway waiting for the plane and ready to work,” he said.

Slattery added that he couldn’t be any happier to have such a proficient launch customer. “This is an airline that operates inside the arctic circle. They gave a philosophy and DNA of making things happen,” he stated.

“When you select your launch customer, you deeply need a partner that will make sure that the early issues are ironed out. We don’t anticipate any issues with the EIS of this plane. But having an airline with the unique capability of operating the way they do, it’s a reassurance for us.”

Nielsen then added that Widerøe’s capabilities and experiences in the MRO sector would allow them to handle complex situations with this EIS.

And should all things go well, Nielsen hinted a potential interest in becoming the E175-E2’s launch customer as well. “Right now, we’re on a good EIS with the E190-E2. So we’ll have to come back here and see if we can be the launch customer of the E175-E2.”

The aircraft will fly away from São Paulo to Recife, where it will then continue onwards to Las Palmas in the Canary Islands before making a stop at Aberdeen around four hours later.

The aircraft will then have to wait in Aberdeen to receive its ETOPS permission to travel across the North Sea before landing at Bergen Flesland airport.

Several Widerøe Q400 pilots will be offered an upgrade in training onto the E190-E2 as no doubt; this aircraft is going to be the one that pilots will want to fly on, especially with the high level of demand there is for Nordic pilots around the area.

Commercial Pilot, Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University. Aviation MBA, Globetrotter, AS Roma fan, and in my free time, I fly the Airways Ship.

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