In my new position as President of Commercial Aviation, I thought it would be the ideal time to launch a new communication channel. I’ll be uploading regular posts that will give you insight about our customers, our people, and our programs. I’ll also be sharing my views on our particular segment of the industry. It’s dynamic and incredibly competitive yet there are great opportunities for airlines to differentiate themselves and increase profitability. I hope you’ll enjoy reading the entries and that you’ll bookmark this address, leave your comments, and come back often.
One of the areas that’s particularly dynamic is China. The Zhuhai Air Show kicks off today and we’re there with an impressive virtual reality exhibit showcasing the E-Jets E2s. China is big and we’re big on China. Did you know that the country’s population is forecast to increase by a staggering 530 million in the next two decades? Its growing middle class has lots of disposable income and an insatiable appetite for travel. That demand translates into a need for airlines to buy or lease over 1,000 new airplanes in the E-Jets category over the next 20 years.
I’ve been coming to China for years and one thing that always strikes me is how quickly things can move. For example, the CAAC just lifted a moratorium on applications for licenses for new airlines flying regional aircraft. The move is intended to avoid the pitfalls of adding too much capacity, help reduce congestion at overcrowded airports, and promote regional economies. Over a dozen start-up airlines have already or are in the process of applying for licences with each one intending to have a fleet of 25 regional airplanes.
It’s a tremendous opportunity for us given that we’re no stranger to China. In fact, it may surprise you to know that the country is home to the second largest fleet of Embraer commercial aircraft in the world. (The USA has the biggest.) Many of the nation’s leading airlines fly E-Jets – Tianjin Airlines, China Southern, China Eastern. And some regional carriers like Colorful Guizhou and Hebei Airlines have added E-Jets to their fleets as well.
The road into the Middle Kingdom takes time and patience to navigate. I think one of the secrets to our success has been working in partnership with local governments, airlines, and central planners. Of course, having great airplanes helps, too. We think our E-Jets, particularly the E190, are a great fit for China’s airlines. The E190 has the lowest unit cost among aircraft in its category and excellent hot and high capabilities to fly into the country’s more challenging airfields. And as passengers everywhere have told us, E-Jets set the standard for comfort. Have you ever met anyone that likes the middle seat?
If you’re in Zhuhai this week, be sure to stop by the air show and check out our display!