At Lynnwood conference, Brazil’s Embraer predicts demand for smaller jets

LYNNWOOD — Brazil’s Embraer foresees strong demand for small jets over the next 20 years, with orders from North America leading the way.

The aerospace company predicts carriers will buy 7,225 new jets that seat between 30 and 120 passengers by 2020, Tobias Caldas, manager of marketing analysis for Embraer, told representatives of local aerospace companies at conference in Lynnwood on Wednesday.

This is the first time Embraer has participated in the Pacific Northwest Aerospace Alliance’s annual conference, which draws the likes of the Boeing Co., Airbus, EADS and Bombardier.

The Brazilian company is really the last company to successfully break into the jetliner business, a difficult market to enter, Richard Aboulafia, analyst with the Teal Group, told conference participants on Tuesday. Embraer was created in 1969 and privatized in 1994.

Embraer had a backlog of orders for commercial, business and military aircraft worth about $15.4 billion at the end of last year, Caldas said.

The bulk of Embraer’s business — 70 percent of it — is in the commercial jet market. Caldas estimates the 7,225 small jets that will be required over the next 20 years are worth $329 billion. Embraer’s E series jets address this market segment.

The company has 1,051 orders for E-jets and has delivered 802. North American carriers are Embraer’s top customers, with airlines such as U.S. Airways putting the E190 to use on routes between New York and Boston when the carrier couldn’t fill larger Airbus A320s.

Low-cost carriers are “more likely to use E-jet to right-size” their fleet — replacing A320s or Boeing 737s with the Embraer’s smaller aircraft, Caldas said.

Boeing and Airbus both have decided to re-engine their single-aisle 737 and A320 jet families. Embraer is looking at the possibility of doing the same with the E series.

“What is being considered now is a second generation of the E-jet family,” Caldas said.

That could include re-engining and putting a new wing on Embraer’s jets. While Caldas said that Embraer doesn’t have the details figured out, the company likely will chart a course over the next year.

Herald writer Michelle Dunlop: 425-339-9304 or mdunlop@heraldnet.com.

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