Embraer To Halt E175-E2 Regional Jet Program for Three Years

The E175-E2 has a maximum takeoff weight of 98,120 pounds and can accommodate up to 90 seats. [Courtesy: Embraer]

Embraer S.A. says its board of directors has approved a plan to halt development of its E175-E2 regional jet for three years. The Brazilian aerospace company attributed the move in part to rules governing how airlines in the U.S. manage their fleets between regional jets and larger airplanes with more seats and range.

The announcement, made in a regulatory filing, marks another change in Embraer’s plans for the latest version of its 175 series jet, which first flew in 2019. The company has previously delayed the aircraft for a number of reasons, including declining travel demand during the height of the COVID-19 pandemic. But scope clauses have been the main obstacle to the new airplane.

“As in previous years, the re-programming of activities is associated with the ongoing U.S. mainline scope clause discussions with the pilot unions regarding the maximum take-off weight limitation for aircraft with up to 76 seats,” Embraer said in the filing.

About Scope Clauses

The clauses are agreements between airlines and pilot unions regarding how airlines deploy regional jets. Essentially, they are meant to prevent regional flights, typically operated by lower-cost affiliates of the major airlines, from taking routes traditionally flown by mainline pilots who generally have more seniority and receive higher pay than regional pilots.

Under current agreements, regional jets can weigh up to 86,000 pounds and carry as many as 76 seats. The E175-E2 has a maximum takeoff weight of 98,120 pounds and can accommodate up to 90 seats.

Embraer apparently expected a renegotiation of scope clauses to have allowed higher weights and passenger capacities for regional jets by now, in part because the new airplane’s engines boost its fuel efficiency and could cut costs for airlines. However, strong demand for the E175-E2 has yet to materialize, and U.S. airlines have continued to buy older E175 models.

In its filing, Embraer said that under the new schedule it expects the jet to enter service “between 2027 and 2028.”

Jonathan Welsh is a private pilot who worked as a reporter, editor and columnist with the Wall Street Journal for 21 years, mostly covering the auto industry. His passion for aviation began in childhood with balsa-wood gliders his aunt would buy for him at the corner store. Follow Jonathan on Twitter @JonathanWelsh4

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