There is no doubt that COVID-19 has transformed the airline industry. The global pandemic altered route networks, shifted travel demand levels and reshaped demand for different aircraft. For example, many airlines have retired less-efficient aircraft, as they gravitate closer to newer, more cost-effective aircraft. As a result, one of the major aircraft manufacturers – Embraer, based in São Paulo – officially announced its 10-year market outlook plan to accommodate the new, emerging trend in aircraft demand.
“The short-term impact of the global pandemic has long-term implications for new aircraft demand,” Arjan Meijer, President and CEO of Embraer Commercial Aviation said.
The Brazilian aircraft manufacturer’s report includes major factors contributing to the shifting trends, which are necessary to take into account. In addition, the driving forces that will influence growth include fleet resizing, regionalization, passenger behaviour and environment.
“Our forecast reflects some of the trends we’re already seeing – the early retirement of older and less efficient aircraft, a preference for more profitable smaller airplanes to match weaker demand, and the growing importance of domestic and regional airline networks in the restoration of air service. Aircraft with up to 150 seats will be instrumental in how quickly our industry recovers,” Meijer added.
Embraer forecasts global passenger traffic will return to pre-COVID 19 levels by 2024. However, it will remain 19 per cent below its original forecast for the decade through 2029. Additionally, the Brazilian aircraft manufacturer expects to deliver 4,420 new jets. Furthermore, 75 per cent of them replace ageing aircraft and the remaining 25 per cent expands the market.
Embraer’s Other Initiatives
Embraer has been known for its regional jets – notably its signature E-Jet family – featuring its E170, E175, E190 and E195 narrow-body aircraft. Additionally, the airlines operate regional and short-haul routes. Thus, the aircraft manufacturer’s E-Jet family become dependable and used often to meet the travel demand.
In addition, Embraer has its more recent and newer E-Jet E2 aircraft variants, the E175 E2, E190 E2 and E195 E2, with a more enhanced and efficiently designed flight deck and engines. Finally, Embraer has its ERJ aircraft family, featuring the ERJ 135, 140 and 145 for the airlines’ shorter routes.
Embraer’s recent partnership with Energias de Portugal ( EDP) Brazil to develop aircraft electrification will further establish the significance of the regional, narrow-body E-Jet Family. The Brazilian aerospace company has the opportunity to enhance its commercial aircraft. Moreover, the new aircraft can be more energy-efficient and environmentally friendly while minimizing costs.
Of course, while its brand new 10-year market outlook and partnership with EDP to construct electric-powered aircraft, is a large step towards transforming the aviation industry and overcoming COVID-19, there is still a long way to go. However, with Embraer being a major player in the process, the future will be closer than expected.