Embraer eyes developing new turboprop as way forward after Boeing deal collapses

Brazil’s Embraer, the world’s third-largest commercial plane manufacturer, has announced it is exploring the possibility of developing a new turboprop aircraft. The initial announcement made it clear that its commercial unit is not for sale.

“We are actively in discussions with (turboprop) partnerships, but I can’t go into more details now,” Commercial Aviation Chief Executive Arjan Meijer said, adding “Also the type of partnership, be it industrial or financial, is wide open. We are looking at all the options, or it could be a combination of the two … We are not ruling anyone out at this point.”

According to Reuters news agency, Meijer blamed a recent E2 order slump on buyers waiting for the Boeing deal, followed swiftly by the pandemic. Longer term, however, he saw the pandemic’s fallout boosting Embraer. The move looks to strengthen Embraer’s position in the sub-150-seat market and would be seen as a challenge to the popular European ATR turboprop aircraft which, prior to the global pandemic, had forecast a demand for 3,020 turboprops over the next 20 years, with a current market value of US$80 billion.

However, with a projected budget of around US$2 billion, some are viewing the direction Embraer is going in as counterintuitive to that being followed by others interested in exploring the short-haul and regional aircraft market with the development of electric- and hydrogen-powered aircraft.

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