Embraer considers developing a 70-seat turboprop aircraft to compete with ATR

Dublin, Ireland - Brazilian aircraft manufacturer Embraer considers launching a turboprop aircraft program through the new joint venture established with its North American partner Boeing.

The study for the new turboprop aircraft program is in the advanced stages, according to a top executive who spoke to Reuters on Jan. 20.

The 70-seat ATR-72 of the Franco-Italian aircraft manufacturer currently dominates the regional aircraft market. Embraer's new plane is intended to be in the same size or even larger than the ATR 72.

It is in our target market, which we have always been clear is below 150 seats, and will have natural adjacency to the E2 offering. The business case is going well,

said Chief Executive John Slattery during the sidelines of annual Airline Economics and Airfinance Journal conferences in Dublin.

The Q400 program of the Canadian aircraft manufacturer was the only competitor to the ATR's turboprops. Last year, Bombardier sold the program to another Canadian manufacturer De Havilland Canada, due to lack of demand.

The Chinese manufacturer AVIC is also preparing to enter the market with its Xian MA700 that is currently under development.

Xian MA700

Turboprop planes are more efficient than commercial jets on short-haul regional routes thanks to their low fuel consumption.

Slattery said that a new player in the market like Embraer would force a response from ATR and be beneficial for airline operators since it will boost choices for them.

He also said the Franco-Italian ATR is a “de facto monopoly” due to the lack of a serious rival.