Embraer eyes expansion in China despite COMAC competition

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A Brazilian plane manufacturer Embraer eyes the market potential in China and considers an ambitious expansion in the region despite the competition from the country’s rapid-growing aircraft manufacturer COMAC.

Speaking to the media on March 19, 2021, Chief Executive Officer Arjan Meijer said Embraer aimed to expand in China as the plane manufacturer saw “a huge market potential there”. The Brazilian regional jet maker expected to see a worldwide demand for a total of Embraer 5,500 jets with up to 150 seats until 2031. The manufacturer counted that a third of the expected demand would be seen in Asia with a majority of it coming from China.

However, Embraer may face competition from the Chinese planemaker Commercial Aircraft Corporation of China (COMAC), as the country prefers the major state-owned air carriers to operate COMAC aircraft manufactured at home. While COMAC ARJ21 regional jet is capable to take up to 90 passengers and the C919 narrow-body plane has a capacity for up to 168 travelers, the CEO of Embraer outlined that its E2 Family jets were an “ideal” option for regional China routes as the jet seated up to 146 passengers on board, the middle number of travelers in between the ARJ21 and the C919. 

“With the ambitions of China to expand to the regional cities and surrounding Asian countries, we believe that giving the Chinese airlines access to the E2 offers great opportunities,” the CEO of Embraer. “They want to export, especially the C919, outside China. […] We will see Chinese products become available outside China in the future.”

Embraer delivered 44 commercial planes and 86 executive jets, its revenues reached more than $3.7 million in 2020, according to the company’s financial report. However, the numbers of new deliveries in 2020 indicated a significant stagnation in the manufacturer’s production. before the pandemic, Embraer used to deliver up to 100 commercial aircraft per year ‒ twice as much as in 2020. 

The company finished the year with a net loss of $463.7 million and due to continued uncertainty related to the pandemic impacts on the industry, has decided to not publish 2021 financial and delivery guidance.


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