Embraer SA is considering establishing multiple assembly lines in India to build its small narrow-body jets and military transport aircraft as the Brazilian planemaker tries to win orders in one of the world’s fastest growing aviation markets.
The planemaker is in early discussions with potential partners to assemble its E2 regional aircraft and C-390 Millennium troop transporter, Embraer Chief Executive Officer Francisco Gomes Neto said in an interview in New Delhi at the B20 summit. Neto also said the company was having similar talks with potential partners in China.
“We see India as a very good opportunity for collaboration,” Neto said. “India has very competitive labor costs. India has availability of engineering. India has design and technical expertise. We can put together something good for both sides.”
Embraer has been trying to break into the global aviation duopoly with its E2 range of jets that seat between 80 and 130 people, depending on the variant, and compete with Airbus SE’s A220 model. With India looking to improve domestic connections, the planemaker sees an opportunity for smaller aircraft that might be easier for airlines to use on underserved routes.
Regional carrier Star Air is the sole commercial airline that operates Embraer jets in India. Bloomberg News in March reported India is looking to partner with Embraer and Russia’s Sukhoi to make small planes locally in a bid to link tiny towns and far-flung areas.
Embraer shut down its Chinese assembly operation — where it built ERJ 145 regional jets and Legacy 650 business aircraft — in 2016 owing to a lack of demand. Neto said he was optimistic about Chinese carriers being interested in his products, and cited the recent certification of its E195-E2 and E190-E2 models.