For years now, news in the North American aircraft market has been dominated by the never-ending battle between Boeing and Airbus in the large plane market. As those two titans trade the number 1/ number 2 spots in aircraft deliveries, another battle has been brewing, largely under the radar (pun intended).
The regional air travel market has grown significantly, as more airlines are focusing on off-hub travel destinations to pull traffic from the big cities.
Here in New Hampshire, Manchester-Boston Regional Airport in Manchester, NH has seen dramatic growth, pulling travellers throughout northern New England with an airport one hour north of Boston’s Logan International. The convenience of a local, medium sized airport is very attractive to many people in the Granite State, mainly because you can avoid the hassle of driving into Boston, and the schedules Manchester offers rivals Boston-Logan, especially for regional travel. Routes to Philadelphia, Chicago, New York / LaGuardia are all easily handled through this regional hub.
Serving more and more of these regional flights is the regional jet. For years, Canada’s Bombardier has provided small passenger jets to the North American regional market, but beginning around 2006, deliveries of regional jets to North America have been led by Embraer of Brazil.
The ERJ series has seen a dramatic increase of use in the last 5 years, and they are growing by leaps and bounds worldwide, throughout Asia, Europe and the Americas. The United States is the largest market for the Regional Jet, with 35% of jet deliveries coming to our shores, and Embraer has the lion’s share of that.
Historically, the regional jet has been the smaller plane in the sky, carrying from 29-60 passengers. These jets are more fuel efficient, and generally much less expensive to fly than the mid-sized planes like the Boeing 737, but these regional jet manufacturers have introduced up-scaled models, approaching 120 seat capacity. These new models, for the first time, are encroaching on Boeing and Airbus territory, taking on such venerable aircraft as the Boeing 737.
Recently, Embraer has opened a facility in the Melbourne, FL to build the Phenom line of Executive Jet, and some say the timing could not have been better, as the retirement of the Space Shuttle had many worried about the job market along the Space Coast. Embraer has hired hundreds of highly technical workers for this facility, and plans further growth.
Many of our customers have long provided parts to the likes of Boeing and Airbus, and Embraer does use some major American suppliers. The question we want to ask is how much business from Embraer is going to small American manufacturers for Embraer parts?Posted by Ken Hayes, Vice President, ProfitKey International