About 4 weeks ago, Brazilian media reported that plane manufacturer Embraer has plans in its drawer to convert its passenger variants E190 and E195 into freighters. The decision would be made and announced before the end of December 2020 according to information apparently given by its management. Meanwhile, December has passed without any statement from Embraer on the matter.
The South American São José dos Campos-based aircraft producer is targeting an additional market by kicking off a freighter conversion program that will complement its core business of assembling and selling passenger aircraft. However, its management remains tight-lipped up to now as to its plans, despite these being more than just rumor, as local Brazilian media report.
Filling a capacity niche
The company’s popular E190 and E195 variants are both candidates for P2F conversion. They qualify well, both technically and operationally, for a second career as cargo jetliners since a large cargo door can easily be installed between cockpit and wings. They have a range of 4,000 km (E190) and 4,200 km (E195) respectively, and could uplift approximately 11 metric tons, making them interesting candidates for regional feeder services on behalf of integrators or charter operations.
No doubt market demand for these kinds of smaller freighters that fit between the Boeing 737-400F and the ATR 72, is there as evidenced in recent months when capacity demand hit new peaks, outgrowing supply. According to Embraer, a number of potential users have already knocked on its door, showing high interest in operating either P2F converted E190 or E195.
120 potential units
A secondary market for P2F converted aircraft would also reduce the manufacturer’s financial risks in times of sluggish demand for its passenger programs, and it might spur the interest for its newer passenger jetliners.
If the program gets the go-ahead, the first freighters converted by Embraer could enter service in 2023. This includes variants manufactured between 2004 and 2008, accounting for roughly 120 potential units. In terms of age, they are ideal candidates for a second life as freighters.
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