back to article Boeing embraces Embraer to take off in regional jet market

Aerospace giant Boeing looks to have addressed a weakness that Airbus exposed last year, by proposing a joint venture with Brazilian plane-maker Embraer. The deal's about regional jets, passenger planes with about 100 seats and ranges up to 5,000km. Neither Airbus nor Boeing make such planes – the former’s A318 and the latter’ …

  1. Blockchain commentard Silver badge

    I wouldn't have thought a plane doing 5000 km is 'regional' - that's more trans-Atlantical.

    1. Voland's right hand Silver badge

      Size matters

      It is the size which differs. Embraer and Bombardier operate 4 seat per row (or was it 2+3?) arrangement. This range is the same as 320 family so it can run on the same routes when there is not enough demand for a full size 320.

      This actually limits its applications. Modern ticket selling (or shall we say customer fleecing) techniques guarantee a nearly full plane every time.

      Having these in the fleet also requires the airline to operate at multi-tier using depending on demand Embraer/Bombardier, 320 and 321 (or 767) to the same destination. That has flag airline written all over it so the article conjecture about cheap airlines/fares to destinations is a bit far fetched - it is not happening. In fact, the only Eu airline I can think of which successfully operates the RegionalJet/A320 combo is Luftwaffe and they are anything but cheap.

      1. LDS Silver badge

        Size and costs

        Whatever the range, this airplanes usually cost less to run and can operate from airports where larger ones may have issues - which in turn make some range desirable to connect some remote location with smaller airports.

      2. LDS Silver badge
        Joke

        " successfully operates the RegionalJet/A320 combo is Luftwaffe"

        Do they have bomber versions?

        1. Jude Bradley

          Re: " successfully operates the RegionalJet/A320 combo is Luftwaffe"

          Nein.

      3. Neil 32

        Re: Size matters

        The Embraer 135 and 145 are a 1+2 seating config (35 and 45 pax standard capacity) with no overhead bins on the port side. No sure what the 195 is.

        The CRJ 200, 700 and 900 are a 2+2 seating config

        The ER4 is a lovely fun little aircraft. It can sneak onto the runway half way down at LHR (at speed) and be in the air in 20 seconds. The engines may look tiny but they give you one heck of the kick in the back when the throttles are opened! Never mind the speed limits below 10,000ft - their solution is to get to 10,000ft as quickly as possible so the limit never hits.

        1. flokie

          Re: Size matters

          The E195 has a 2+2 seating config for 100 pax or so.

          IIRC they're the largest planes that can fly into London City airport and its short runway.

          The one downside to the ERJ and E-Jets I can think of is that the overhead lockers are tiny indeed.

          The last flight I took had two legs, one in a 737, the other in an E-195. I clicked on KLM's "learn more about your aircraft" link and was surprised to see the Embraer's cruising speed was marginally higher than the 737. Maybe I shouldn't have been, because yes, their engines seem to pack a punch!

          Here in the UK regional routes are limited with LHR being such a hub - either Easyjet or Ryanair with their Airbus and Boeing craft, respectively. Or FlyBe, who if IIRC have a few Embraer planes, but mostly use propeller planes for their UK routes unfortunately.

      4. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Size matters

        so the article conjecture about cheap airlines/fares to destinations is a bit far fetched

        Not for busy routes. Companies like BA and Swiss fly Geneva to Heathrow in larger aircraft, which is good for people connecting to an onward flight, but they also use the regional jets for Geneva to London City, which is perfect for a short trip to London. Depending on time of day/week the prices can be pretty much identical.

        1. LDS Silver badge

          "but they also use the regional jets for Geneva to London City"

          London City runway is short - AFAIK you can't fly anything larger than a "regional" plane to/from it.

          London City is anyway mostly a "business" airport closer to the city center, so no surprise it's not cheap to fly there.

          1. Anonymous Coward
            Anonymous Coward

            Re: "but they also use the regional jets for Geneva to London City"

            so no surprise it's not cheap to fly there.

            It can be, my last GVA - LCY round trip was about 140 CHF, Tue-Fri visit. It's always worth looking, as I said it can be as cheap as Heathrow if you choose your flights carefully.

      5. Potemkine! Silver badge

        Re: Size matters

        " In fact, the only Eu airline I can think of which successfully operates the RegionalJet/A320 combo is Luftwaffe and they are anything but cheap."

        Luftwaffe? Are you sure? ^^

      6. flokie

        Re: Size matters

        There are some but they tend to split brands, ie. KLM (737s) and KLM CityHopper (E-195s), or Air France (Airbus 320-321s) and their subsidiary iHop (E-195s). In the UK I believe BA operate some Embraer jets, but that's only to serve LCY and its short runway.

        But yes, you're unlikely to get cheap fares with any of these.

    2. Clive Mitchell

      5000 km is 'regional'

      "I wouldn't have thought a plane doing 5000 km is 'regional' "

      5000km may sound a lot but refuelling is not always an option on regional routes so your 5000km suddenly becomes more like 2000km when you include climb out in both directions.

  2. Tinslave_the_Barelegged Silver badge

    Really?

    "as does jet-powered replacements for routes currently served by turboprops."

    Genuine question for Those Who Know - does that make sense? Turboprops for shortish (an hour or two) flights are not that much slower than jets, and surely use a lot less fuel. Is it just a fashion thing, or has all the technology and boffinry gone into full-fat jets recently?

    1. Michael Duke

      Re: This is Dell or EMC?

      Jets are actually simpler to maintain though as you have 90% of a jet in a turboprop + a gearbox and a prop.

      Modern turbofans will be lower maintenance cost per mile.

      1. }{amis}{ Silver badge

        Re: This is Dell or EMC?

        The other point about turboprops is the noise which matters in small regional airports that are usually under strict noise limits.

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Really?

      As someone who currently "commutes" 2 hrs every Monday morning and 2 hours back again on Friday afternoon, I would take a very dim view of the airline that substitutes a turboprop and turns it in to 3+ hrs!!

    3. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Really?

      Turboprops for shortish (an hour or two) flights are not that much slower than jets,

      Horribly noisy little things, though, even if they've improved since the days of the HS748 "paraffin budgies" that used to do Belfast-Bristol.

      1. Tinslave_the_Barelegged Silver badge

        Re: Really?

        > Horribly noisy little things

        I flew Newcastle to Southampton once in a DASH 8. It must have had active noise cancelling because soon after take-off, everything went weirdly quiet. A few minutes before landing the noise started again. Whatever did it, it was certainly effective.

      2. Tannin

        Re: Really?

        "Horribly noisy little things, though". Nonsense. Modern turboprops have excellent noise levels.

    4. Hans Neeson-Bumpsadese Silver badge

      Re: Really?

      As noted above, noise is a factor but in my experience jets offer a better quality of ride particularly in bad weather. If you're flying through storm clouds, a jet can whiz up through them in no time - a prop-powered plane will lumber through more slowly, subjecting all on-board to turbulence.

      One of the places I used to travel to regularly was reachable by either type of plane - after one particularly stomach-churning flight on a DeHavilland Dash, I always made a point of booking the trip with the airline that flew 737s/A320s.

      1. Tannin

        Re: Really?

        "jets offer a better quality of ride particularly in bad weather ..... after one particularly stomach-churning flight on a DeHavilland Dash, I always made a point of booking the trip with the airline that flew 737s/A320s."

        More nonsense. Quality of ride is largely determined by two things: size, and wing loading. Bigger aircraft have a smoother ride in exactly the same way that larger ships do on a choppy sea. All else being equal, an A380 will always ride better than an A330 which will always ride better than a 737 which will always ride better than a Dash 8, which will always ride better than a Metro, which will always ride better than a light single.

        Heavier wing loadings also produce a smoother ride. A smaller wing relative to all-up weight (i.e., a higher wing loading) presents less surface to wind gusts and provides a smoother ride. In general, larger, faster aircraft have higher wing loadings (for higher cruise speed and better economy at those speeds), while smaller, more flexible aircraft have lower wing loadings (for better low-speed economics and, in particular, for the ability to lift heavy loads off short strips).

        Of course a 737 has a better ride than a Dash 8. It is twice the size. A turboprop the size of a 737, designed to do the same sorts of jobs, would ride just as well. And a jet the size of a Dash 8, designed to do the jobs a Dash 8 does, would ride the same as a Dash 8.

        This is all just basic physics. Bigger wings, smaller wings, more or less all-up weight. Nothing at all to do with type of engine.

    5. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Really?

      A big part of it is fashion. The flying public thinks propellers are old-fashioned because WW II fighters had propellers.

    6. Tannin

      Re: Really?

      No. It doesn't make sense. I have no idea how it came to appear in the article.

      Turboprops exist because they are better at doing what they do than jets are. Or piston twins for that matter.

      They don't do long-haul because jets are better at long-haul. (Faster and more economical.) They don't do general aviation (much) because piston engines are vastly cheaper to buy than any turbine.

      But when it comes to short-haul and limited on-ground facilities, good modern turboprops like the Dash 8 (Canada) and the ATR 42 (France & Italy) are cheaper to operate, more flexible, and deliver close enough to the same trip time as makes no difference. Comfort and noise levels are much the same (people claiming otherwise are usually comparing a shiny new jet to a noisy old-tech turboprop - in short, they are wrong) and fares can be lower because operating costs are lower.

  3. imanidiot Silver badge
    Mushroom

    Chinas regional jet

    I'll skip on flying that until it gets a goodly amount of hours on it and has shown to get good maintenance/service and no prangs.

    My expectation of such a device still doesn't exceed that outcome --->

    1. Mark 85 Silver badge

      Re: Chinas regional jet

      Good point. I'm like you in being cautious. There's a catch though... new planes with some hours on them usually are fine. It's when they hit a certain point that problems crop up that weren't sorted out very early on. Metal fatigue is still a big problem unless the engineers over-designed the part. Even then... there may be maintenance issues with things like training and expertise of mechanics.

  4. Bavaria Blu
    Go

    "But travellers may not mind, as regional jets let airlines fly routes that can’t be flown profitably with larger aircraft. With both big plane-makers pushing regional jets, new routes become a possibility, as does jet-powered replacements for routes currently served by turboprops."

    Not sure that isn't logical - elsewhere it less less competition in aircraft supply means higher prices for airlines to purchase them. The fact that airlines are not offering regional routes becuse before now they planes had "embraer" written on the side, and now they will have "Boeing" will not change that, and perhaps just increase the prices for everyone.

    I fly most months and I would say the greatest problem is airport capacity and passenger fees, as well as Air Passenger Duty. Heathrow really needs two new runways so that each terminal has one. A direct rail link to the west of England would also help.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Many regional turboprops/jets are designed to fly profitably with lower fill factors than larger jets. Anyway I guess the business decision relies only on the actual demand of such kind of planes.

      In some areas of the world - i.e. some European countries - high-speed trains are killing shorter air routes. In other areas lacking railways, or where they can't be built (i.e. hopping across island) demand may be increasing. .

  5. JeffyPoooh Silver badge
    Pint

    "Bombardier forces Boeing to get a Brazilian"

    Comedy sub-headline opportunity missed.

  6. ibmalone Silver badge

    So when Airbus acquired Bombardier’s planes in October 2017, Boeing went ballistic. The Trump administration tried to help out by threatening massive tariffs against Bombardier, but the United States’ own International Trade Commission smacked those down.

    The timeline presented is wrong. Boeing were already gunning for the Bombardier Q Series before Airbus took a share https://leehamnews.com/2017/09/26/decision-expected-tariff-shocker-boeing-bombardier-case/ https://www.theguardian.com/business/2017/sep/27/punitive-export-tariff-placed-on-planes-made-in-northern-ireland In fact, Airbus's involvement helped Bombardier out of that situation, as Boeing was lobbying (successfully) for US import tariffs >200% on the planes, because Airbus can assemble enough of it in the US to get around that.

    Partly built in the UK (Belfast), it's a great example of the special trade relationship we can look forward to with the USA.

    1. thames

      Yes, Boeing had been talking with both Embraer and Bombardier about some sort of acquisition or merger. Talks with Bombardier fell apart, and Boeing already had a partnership with Embraer to sell and service their military transport jets (same market segment as the Hercules). A straight out purchase of Embraer was not in the cards though because of political opposition to it in Brazil.

      There is widespread speculation that Boeing's plan was to get the US government to give them a monopoly on the US market for this size of jet to sweeten the deal enough to bring Embraer back to the table.

      The Canadian government then played matchmaker to get Bombardier and Airbus back to the negotiating table and a deal was made (and is now in effect). The UK government got involved as well as large parts of the CSeries are to be made in the UK. PM May held high level meetings in Ottawa about strategy and then did some high level lobbying in Washington to try to get Boeing's tariff plan killed.

      There is also an upcoming major arms deal in Canada where Airbus are now in an improved position for their Typhoon due to Bombardier's local industry links. Boeing meanwhile, who once were seen as having the deal in the bag, have been told their bid will have big negative ratings all over it due to being seen as not being very friendly to Canadian interests (a criteria for this was actually added to the formal bid process because of these events).

      Overall, while Boeing may have possibly have now got their partnership with Embraer, they screwed up badly overall.

      1. Mark 85 Silver badge

        Simply put, Boeing wants a US monopoly on aircraft (military, civilian). There's other examples around the world but Boeing has been rather aggressive in this for the last several decades. The last big competitor was McDonnell-Douglas which they sucked up like vultures.

    2. JeffyPoooh Silver badge
      Pint

      ibmalone mentioned, "...Bombardier Q Series..."

      I believe that you may have misspelled 'C'.

      1. ibmalone Silver badge

        ibmalone mentioned, "...Bombardier Q Series..."

        I believe that you may have misspelled 'C'.

        Good catch. Yes, C series, Q series is the smaller older range, not sure why I keep mixing them up :(

  7. JaitcH
    WTF?

    Does Boeing's Scheme Meet With Trump's Buy American?

    I wonder if this proposal will meet with Trump's Buy American; Tax Imports and all the other scatterbrained ideas he has?

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Does Boeing's Scheme Meet With Trump's Buy American?

      Some reports indicate that Canada supplies a large fraction of the aluminum used by the USA. Comes from smelters in Quebec powered by hydro. High quality.

      Canada should support Trump's "national security" position fully, by immediately halting shipments of aluminum to the USA. Just stockpile it near the border. Issue news release of support for USA. Bring chair and popcorn.

      When Boeing and Ford start calling, because other suppliers fail to have the Quals and QA, redirect them to the Whitehouse.

      Release small amounts, at inflated pricing. Government of Canada can break even, while Boeing, Ford, and Budweiser go insane.

      In summary, trade retaliation should include critical exports to the USA. Not just imports from the USA.

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