Four European airlines plan to add Embraer planes to their fleet

Embraer planes have realized good opportunities in Europe. Binter Canarias, Belavia, Helvetic, Widerøe and KLM Cityhopper have the E190 and 195 E2. Pre-owned aircraft have also shown some interest among airlines, the most recent example being SAS Scandinavian Airlines System, which has signed a Letter of Intent (LOI) for fifteen Embraer E190s.

Patrick Bryrne, CEO of Irish regional airline Cityjet, which specializes in ACMI and wet leasing activities, is considering an Embraer fleet in the future. Following the COVID 19 health crisis, it lost its contracts with Aer Lingus, Air France, Brussels Airlines and Air Antwerp. After undergoing restructuring, the company only concluded an agreement with SAS for twelve CRJ 900s.

The entire Cityjet fleet is currently operated by SAS. Photo: Cityjet

Cityjet is now looking to restructure and, according to CH-Aviation, the company will add ten more CRJ 900s, but will also seek to integrate several Embraers into its fleet.

“We want to enter the Embraer market, there are only a limited number of CRJs, so we will also have to build an Embraer fleet for the wet rental market,” says Bryrne.

Bryrne is initially considering a fleet of up to five E190 or E195 for next year. In the future, he would choose to use Embraer E2s, although the A220 is also vying for a place in his plans.

Adriatic airlines interested in Embraer

Embraer made a presentation of its E-Jet E2 product with the help of Swiss Helvetic in Zagreb, Croatia. The ceremony was attended by representatives of Croatian airlines Trade Air and Croatia Airlines. Also present was the Montenegro state start-up, Air Montenegro, born from the first ashes of its predecessor, which was liquidated in 2020 after years of losses.

The company owns one Embraer 195 and will soon take delivery of two more. The decision to acquire the E2s could mean parting with the leasing contracts held by the Montenegrin airline.

On the other hand, Trade Air, focused on charter services, recently integrated three Airbus A320s and would add one A319 to its fleet. The decision on the Embraer E2 would allow it to have secondary destinations, replacing the company’s existing Fokker 100s.

For Embraer, the biggest contract would be with Croatia Airlines, a major airline in the Balkan region. The Croatian state-owned airline has not placed an order to modernize its fleet since 2008, when it struck a deal for four Airbus A319s and six Dash DHC Q-400s, of which it had only received turboprop engines. The A319s were replaced by four A320neos, which, due to the airline’s financial situation, were eventually canceled in 2020.

Croatia is now Ceremony to present the model to Croatian airlines. Photo credit: Boran Pivčić / Helvetic. Negotiating to build a modern fleet in line with its needs and finances. The Embraer models will have to compete with Airbus’ proposal for its A220, which was presented weeks earlier to Adriatic Airlines.

Croatia is a seasonal destination in Europe, and Croatia Airlines has a downside with its current models. The DHC 8-400 has insufficient range for several low season destinations and the Airbus A319 / 320s tend to be very large aircraft for their regional routes.

With a very big difference in size between the three models, it has more planes in the low season than it needs or in the high season it is looking for planes to meet the demand of the holidays.

Helvetic spent two days in Zagreb which included a flight along the Croatian coast with airline technicians present. Photo: Boran Pivčić / Croatia Airlines

Croatia Airlines’ vision is based on a fleet of E195-E2, offering a single class of 134 seats or divided into 12 seats in business class and 108 in economy class.

The range of 4,815 kilometers (2,600 miles) allows it to operate across the entire current airline network and with the ability to move new seasonal routes to regular routes, such as Lisbon (LIS), Madrid (MAD), Barcelona (BCN), Saint Petersburg (LED) or Tel Aviv (TLV).

Alternatively, its DHC 8-400 could be replaced by the 90-seat E175-E2. The model currently has no orders, but Croatia’s intention to renew puts it on the negotiating list.

Embraer will have to compete with the Airbus A220, which is the flagship model of the European manufacturer in the regional fleet of major airlines such as Air Baltic, Air France, and soon ITA-Alitalia.

Photo: Boran Pivčić / Croatia Airlines

Cesar Pereira, Vice President of Commercial Aviation at Embraer responsible for Europe, Middle East and Africa markets, made an open comparison between the E195 E2 and the A220-300 during the presentation, stating that the Brazilian aircraft has flight costs eight percent lower than the European aircraft, and a two percent lower cost per seat.

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