Embraer’s 50: a brief history

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16 Dec 19
Napisal Aljoša Jarc
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In 1968 the Bandeirante took off for the first time. It was a great achievement for the team of engineers coordinated by Oziris Silva that worked on the project for several years. The project needed a strategic partner to start the serial production. The team found it in the Brazilian government and on 19th august 1969 Embraer was born. V slovenščini

Approximately 500 EMB-110 Bandeirantes were built till 1991. The first success of the new company was soon followed by others.

C-95 Bandeirante foto: Paul van der Linden/4Aviation
  C-95 Bandeirante foto: Paul van der Linden/4Aviation

In 1970 the EMB-200 Ipanema made its maiden flight. The aircraft was developed by the public Instituto Tecnológico de Aeronáutica. The agricultural plane is still in production as EMB-202 Ipanema, by now there were built more than 1.400. The company also started producing under license Piper’s aircraft for the South American market. The partnership lasted till 2000 and delivered 2.326 light aircraft.

In the seventies Embraer was granted the license to build the Aermacchi MB-326, locally known as AT-26 Xavante (182 built). The collaboration with the Italian industry lead to the creation, in 1981, of the Joint Venture AMX.

AMX.
  AMX.

The JV produced the aircraft with the same name, known in Brazil as A-1, of which 56 were delivered to the Brazilian Air Force. Meanwhile Embraer developed a military basic trainer with discrete COIN capabilities: the EMB-312 Tucano first flew in 1980 and was also built under license by the Shorts Brothers in UK (160 planes, some of them were exported in Kenya and Kuwait).

Tucano Shorts Brothers
  Tucano Shorts Brothers

In the late seventies they started the production of the EMB-121 Xingu, a twin turboprop developed from the EMB-110. Many were bought from various Air Forces, the French Armée de l’Air still fly 23 of them. Another commuter, the EMB-120 Brasilia, was produced from 1983 till 2001.

EMB-120 Brasilia
  EMB-120 Brasilia foto: Marco Papa

In 1994 the company went through a privatization. The following year Embraer entered the market of Regional Jets with a capacity of up to 50 passengers.

ERJ-135 foto: André Nel/A.N Aviation Photography
  ERJ-135 foto: André Nel/A.N Aviation Photography

The ERJ family started competing with the smallest member of the CRJ family. The ERJ-145 represents also the base of the R-99, an Airborne early warning and control aircraft used by Brazil, Greece and Mexico (India bought three ERJ-145 to use in the same role, but they equipped them with Indian made systems).

The military branch worked hard and after the huge success of the Tucano, the Super Tucano made its first flight in 1999. This model was particularly developed as a light attack aircraft, with marked COIN capabilities.

SUPER TUCANO
  SUPER TUCANO

After the privatization Embraer was seeking new capitals on the stock market to fund the new ambitious projects. The initial public offerings at the New York Stock Exchange and on the Brazilian Stock Exchange took place in 2000.

The first bizjet of the company, the Legacy 600, was developed from the ERJ family and almost 300 aircraft of this type have been produced to date. An even bigger step was done in 2001, with the first flight of a plane of the E-family. The E170/175 and E190/195 became so popular, that Embraer became the world’s leader producer for aircraft with a capacity of up to 130 seats, delivering more than 1.500 E-jets.

The military branch started working on a military transport aircraft, that made its first flight in 2015, after a development that lasted almost a decade. The 28 ordered KC-390 will replace the C-130 Hercules fleet in the FAB. The first export sale was confirmed in July, an order for five aircraft worth 920 mln $ made by Portugal. Another order, this time from Hungary should be announced before the end of year, during the visit of the Brazilian president Bolsonaro in Hungary. Recently the KC-390 was rebranded in C-390 Millennium. The aircraft will be marketed by the joint venture Boeing-Embraer Defense. The C-390 is already in pole position to replace the transport fleets of Sweden and Czech Republic.

C-390 MILLENNIUM
  C-390 Millennium

The commercial division developed several new types of bizjets. The very light jet EMB-500 Phenom 100 performed the first flight in 2007, the Light Jet Phenom 300 followed the next year.

PHENOM 300E
  PHENOM 300E

The family grow up in 2012 and 2013, with the first flights of the mid-size bizjets EMB-500 and EMB-450.

The E-jets E-2 program was announced at the Paris Air Show in 2013. The first E-190 E2 flew in 2016 and the first customer to receive the new model was the Norwegian carrier Widerøe

in 2018.

E-190E2
  E-190E2

The E-2 are an upgraded version of the original E-jets with which they share the fuselage. The passengers cabin looks even more spacious, while the consumption of fuel is down by approx. 25%. Now the biggest competitors of the E-jet and E2 families are the Airbus A319neo and the A-220-100.

Cockpit E-195E2
  Cockpit E-195E2

After a negotiation phase that lasted several months, in July 2018 Boeing and Embraer announced the sign of a Memorandum of Understanding for a strategic partnership. Boeing will own 80% of the joint venture, while Embraer the remaining 20%. Embraer commercial aircraft division will be rebranded in Boeing Brasil – commercial. The transaction is now under investigation by the EU antitrust probe. The Brazilian Association of investors – ABRADIN is clearly against the deal and hopes that the EU antitrust regulators will block it. The investigation should last till March 2020 and it is too early to know what it will determine. The acquisition will be, till then, frozen.

Praetor 500
  Praetor 500

In 50 years Embraer achieved worldwide success with their aircraft, becoming one of the biggest players in the aviation market. Some interesting statistics say that currently there are over 100 airlines flying aircraft made by the Brazilian maker. Embraer delivered more than 8.000 aircraft (1.100 of which are bizjets) in its 50 years long history and the logbook is strong. Every ten seconds there is an Embraer plane taking off somewhere in the world, they transport 145 million passengers every year. Are you one of them?

A special thank you for the photos to: Paul van der Linden/4Aviation (C-95 Bandeirante), Marco Papa (EMB-120 Brasilia) and André Nel/A.N Aviation Photography (ERJ-135).

 

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