We will not be seeing a new Brazilian turboprop aircraft anytime soon, as Embraer has postponed its decision to launch a next-generation turboprop program.
“As of today, the options available from a few suppliers are not yet there with respect to all targets,” said Embraer, as reported by FlightGlobal. According to the Brazilian manufacturer, while it has decided to postpone the program, it will continue working with potential suppliers throughout 2023 in order to re-evaluate the decision.
Split into two variants between a 70-seat and 90-seat aircraft, it would have been the first large new commercial turboprop aircraft since ATR, a joint venture between Airbus and Leonardo (then Aeritalia), launched the ATR 72. The larger variant of the ATR 42 first flew with Finnair in October 1989.
Not enough demand or not a strong business case?
While Embraer has tweaked the design of the potential aircraft, including moving the engines, the question is whether it actually had someone to make those engines.
During the manufacturer’s Q2 2022 results presentation, the Chief Executive Officer of Embraer Francisco Gomes Neto indicated that by the end of the year they will decide on the turboprop’s engines. Embraer expected to “approve the business case beginning of next year,” Neto added on August 4, 2022.
Demand for the turboprop was there, as it secured over 250 Letters of Intent (LoI) for the new-generation turboprop during the Farnborough Airshow in July 2022. Even if these were not firm orders, and seemingly not enough to launch the program, engines were always a question that the manufacturer could not address concretely.
Pratt & Whitney Canada and Rolls-Royce were touted as potential suppliers, while Embraer’s Commercial Aviation CEO Arjan Meijer ruled out General Electric as an engine provider during the same Farnborough Airshow.