LISBON (Reuters) – The head of Brazilian Embraer’s planemaking division dismissed concerns that problems at engine supplier Pratt & Whitney would discourage airlines from placing orders and hinted at some order announcements at the upcoming Paris Airshow.
Pratt & Whitney <RTX.N has been facing problems with the durability of its latest engines flying on Embraer E2 jets, the Airbus A220 and some A320neo-family jets, but Embraer says it has only a quarter of the problems seen elsewhere with 12 of its planes currently grounded.
“It is definitely a topic in discussions with customers,” said Arjan Meijer, chief executive of Embraer Commercial Aviation.
“We believe the issues that we have today are manageable, but we also believe that for new campaigns, the engines that those customers will get will have…improved technology,” he said, referring to the long lead time for aircraft deliveries.
“We don’t have customers not wanting airplanes because of this topic,” he added.
The E2 family of jets was launched a decade ago with the new Pratt engines as an upgrade of the E-Jet family of regional jets, while Embraer continues to offer earlier “E1” versions.
Embraer has suspended development of the smallest of the new family, the E175-E2, because its weight means it does not meet “scope clause” restrictions in U.S. pilot union agreements. Meijer said he did not expect these to change any time soon.
However, he hinted at an upcoming order from a U.S. regional carrier, which points to the existing version of the E175 flown by regional affiliates of U.S. airlines, which use different engines.
“We actually have active campaigns now in the U.S. and we expect to announce some developments shortly,” he said.
Also expected to be unveiled at the June 19-25 Paris Airshow is the buyer’s name for a recent order of 15 E190/195-E2 jets.
Meijer said Embraer was ready to wait several years for the right engine technology for a new turboprop, after suspending a proposed new design over the available engine options.
(Reporting by Tim Hepher; editing by Jason Neely)