One of the most obvious and long-awaited approaches appears to be close to fruition: Embraer CEO Arjan Meijer confirmed that the Brazilian manufacturer has initiated talks to advance its new turboprop with several potential partners, including India.
A deal for the joint development of a turboprop between Embraer and India would make a lot of sense, considering the Asian country’s huge domestic and regional market:
In 2020, shortly after the failure of the Boeing-Embraer negotiations, we commented that Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi had presented in 2016 a regional connectivity megaproject called UDAN: more than 100 airports (and hundreds of new routes) with heavily subsidized fares will be built and concessioned. For that purpose, an indigenous regional aircraft of about 80-90 seats is needed.
This industrial project has not made much progress and the partnership with the Brazilian company would greatly boost the project, as Embraer is a specialist in the segment. At the time R.K. Tyagi, former chairman of Hindustan Aeronautics, had written to the Indian government asking it to seize the opportunity.
By the end of 2021, the UDAN project had 128 routes of approximately 500 kilometers average length serving 45 airports awarded and projected to start in 2022.
Currently, 2 percent of the Indian population can afford air travel, and the project’s intention is to increase that percentage by selling half the capacity of an aircraft at a fixed cost of 2,500 rupees ($32) and the remaining half at market values.
Beyond the Indian interest, Meijer confirmed to Reuters – in the framework of the Airline Economics Conference – that the company is holding «detailed talks» with engine manufacturers to fine-tune the parameters of the engines that would power the regional turboprop. Embraer’s idea is to compete directly against the absolute market leader, ATR.
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