July 15, 2018 / 2:10 PM / a month ago

Embraer pushes E2 jet's low maintenance, fuel costs amid Airbus rivalry

FARNBOROUGH, England, July 15 (Reuters) - Brazilian planemaker Embraer is pushing the low maintenance costs and fuel burn of its E2 jet as it battles tougher competition from the rival A220, now backed by Airbus, executives said on Sunday.

"I'm hopeful that we'll be able to present a good showing on Tuesday," John Slattery, President and CEO Embraer Commercial Aviation, told Reuters onboard its E190-E2 jet, looking ahead to possible order announcements at this week's Farnborough air show.

Boeing earlier this month struck a deal for a controlling stake in the commercial aircraft arm of Embraer under a new $4.75 billion joint venture, coming after Airbus completed a deal to take control of rival Bombardier's Cseries programme.

Embraer was dealt a blow last week when JetBlue opted for the A220-300, formerly known as the Cseries, over the Embraer model.

Speaking separately ahead of the air show, Bombardier Commercial Aircraft President Fred Cromer said the Airbus deal allowed the former Cseries to reach its full potential.

"It's the best aircraft in that segment. It's a clean-sheet design, it's not a re-engine of an existing platform," he said, adding its benefit lay in low operating costs and fuel savings.

The E190-E2, which Embraer is showing at Farnborough with a shark painted on its nose, is the first of three new-generation aircraft in Embraer's commercial jet line-up with new wings and new Pratt & Whitney engines aimed at improving fuel efficiency.

"The combination of knowledge gained from the first generation and the new technology is what makes us unique," Rodrigo Silva e Souza, vice president marketing, Embraer Commercial Aviation, said, highlighting fuel burn and longer maintenance intervals as the main savings for operators.

The smallest version of the E2, the E175-E2 has been slowed due to a scope clause in U.S. pilots' contracts that bars it from the U.S. regional aviation market due to its weight.

Slattery said Embraer was still planning entry into service towards the end of 2021, adding he saw opportunities outside of North America, such as replacing turboprops being flown in south-east Asia and CIS countries.

Bombardier's Cromer said he didn't expect the scope clause to be changed any time soon, adding that benefitted its CRJ airplane.

Meanwhile, U.S. carriers are still interested in the current version of the E175, Slattery said, adding that jet would continue to be produced as long as it's required. (Reporting by Victoria Bryan and Eric Johnson; Editing by Mark Potter)

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