This Brazilian challenger from Embraer might just revolutionise passenger experience and make business sense for airlines introducing them on new routes in India.
India is one of the biggest aviation markets in the world, with more and more people getting on a plane every year. Needless to say, this market requires all sorts of aircraft. One of the must-have skillsets of an airline manager is to match the correct jet to the size of the traffic on the route, to be able to make a profit. India is crowded by the workhorse Airbus A320 family and Boeing 737 aircraft, with regional flying left to turboprops such as the ATR aircraft.
However, a new challenger is trying to break into the scene, with superb route economics and passenger experience, and you might see them in the Indian skies soon enough. The 100- to 150- seater aircraft market has been recently reinvigorated with the launch of the Embraer E2.
Recently, Embraer, the Brazilian aerospace company, flew in the Embraer E195-E2 aircraft for a display to potential customers in Hyderabad. The jet can fly up to 146 passengers in a single class configuration, and 120 passengers in a three-class configuration. The jet has a range of 2,600 nautical miles, which means it could easily fly from Delhi or Mumbai to all of Southeast Asia and the Middle East.
The jet has already found customers in KLM, Helvetic Airways, Azul, Air Astana, and a few others, all of which use it for regional flights. The Embraer E2 family is being assessed by Jet Airways for placing an order once it restarts operations, apart from the usual suspects Boeing 737 and Airbus A320.
Embraer’s case for business with Indian airline companies
Embraer calls the E2 the ‘Profit Hunter’. Embraer states that this aircraft will allow airlines to launch routes without compromising on their ticket yields, with a smaller aircraft (100ish seats), hence the name. As the traffic grows, one could up-gauge to a larger aircraft. So, one does not need to start operating with a fleet of 180-seaters from Boeing/Airbus when opening a new station.
In the current aviation market, where fuel costs are high and customers prefer the frequency of flights, operating a smaller jet but more flights, is sort of what the traveller wants. So what Embraer states, makes sense for markets that are not trunk routes such as Delhi to Mumbai.
The Embraer E2 passenger experience
The reason for an airline to consider the E2 from a passenger’s perspective are many. First and foremost, no middle seats on this aircraft. Yes, you choose from a window or aisle seat, so no one gets stuck in the middle and is fighting for the armrests.
Second, the aircraft comes with some of the biggest windows. Bigger windows mean you get the feeling of a more spacious cabin due to more natural light streaming in.
The aircraft also has two power adaptors in every row on the demonstration aircraft. This means, if an airline chooses to install the default package from the airline, you will get a power source in the aircraft.
But the best part is the larger overhead bins. The overhead bins are spacious enough to fit in one big cabin bag per passenger, which would not need too much work to get inside the cabin as well. In fact, the aircraft is designed wide enough that passengers can pass through even when the service is on. Having experienced this in the past, I can vouch for the fact that you don’t have to have a back and forth with the flight crew when you are onboard and want to visit the lavatory.
The Embraer E2 also has some of the broadest seats in the business, which makes it very comfortable. The 18.25” seat width is higher than the standard Airbus seat width of 18” which is higher than the seat width of 17” which is the standard for Boeing aircraft.
One final feature to note is the flatter lines on this aircraft, which was made possible by a load of redesigning the interior of the aircraft. Also, this means the overhead cabins align with the ceiling rather than hang midway.
There is also another unique feature on this aircraft with no middle seats. You do not have to share your call button with your neighbour now. This way, even the crew knows which passenger has called for them, rather than just the row.
Overall, this jet could seriously up the passenger experience at a decent cost for whichever airline goes for it. I seriously hope someone signs on for them. Will it be Jet Airways? We will find out in the months ahead.