As Embraer mulls its airliner product strategy, one of its big customers, Flybe, recommends that the aircraft maker not overdo it. “We don’t want to see an ultra-long-range, ultra-heavy [aircraft],” says Andrew Strong, managing director of Flybe U.K. “We want 600-700 nm” in range.
“We will be emphasizing with Embraer to look at the weight of the aircraft.” Strong also says engine providers should be looking at more innovative concepts for their propulsion systems. A new aircraft “doesn’t have to be the fastest jet in the world, it has to be economic,” Strong stresses.
Embraer, about year-end, expects to decide whether it will augment its regional jet offering, update the current standard or simply do nothing for now as it waits for technologies that could launch a new generation of aircraft to mature.
But Flybe has experienced first hand that manufacturers’ plans do not always work out the way an airline wants. Strong notes that his airline would have been a natural launch customer for Bombardier’s Q400X; however, the Canadian manufacturer has not solidified its plans, so that option was not available. The airline ended up buying Embraer 175 regional jets instead.
Strong also says the CSeries is an example of too much aircraft for an airline like Flybe. While it may be suitable for Middle East routes to London, its range is too long for European routes.
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