Building strategic partnerships key to our growth, India is a promising partner: Francisco Gomes Neto, President & CEO, Embraer

“India and Brazil have a lot in common, from demography to geography to cultural diversity to resources and even similar economic growth trajectory. Both countries play a significant role in BRICS, IBSA, G4, & G20, just to name a few.

Embraer
Embraer collaborated with India to develop the `Netra' AEW&C on three Embraer ERJ145 jets. (Bottom right: Francisco Gomes Neto, President & CEO, Embraer)

Brazil based Embraer is considered to be one of the largest commercial aircraft companies in the world. Its products and systems, be it defense, commercial, executive or urban air mobility- where the company has the largest order book in the industry – are a great fit for India.

“India and Brazil have a lot in common, from demography to geography to cultural diversity to resources and even similar economic growth trajectory. Both countries play a significant role in BRICS, IBSA, G4, & G20, just to name a few.

A partnership would serve as a strong platform for the exchange of technologies and ideas.

Particularly in the field of Defense and Aerospace, Embraer can help India achieve global exporter status and a critical supplier in the global supply chain, thus also attain its goal of becoming self-reliant,” Francisco Gomes Neto, President & CEO, Embraer, tells Financial Express Online in an exclusive interview.

Following are excerpts of an exclusive interview

What plans does Embraer have for India?

Asia Pacific is a key market for us to deepen our presence and the region is part of our Fit for Growth strategic plan to improve our financial performance and to prepare the company to grow in a sustainable way.

This plan is based on enterprise efficiency, incremental sales of our current portfolio, innovation and ESG, and will make Embraer a stronger and larger company. So far, our results have shown that our focus on executing our strategic planning with discipline is reaping tangible positive results for the company.

Our 4Q2021 and 2021 fiscal year results recorded a firm order backlog at US$ 17.0 billion, the highest backlog since 2Q18, driven by solid order activity, particularly in the Executive & Commercial segments.

Building strategic partnerships is key to our growth in the next few years and we see India as a promising partner.

On the commercial aviation front, regional jets like Embraer’s E-Jets and E-Jets E2 are the perfect fit for India to bring more connectivity to the country.

Any plans to work with India in any joint development and manufacturing?

Talks with potential partners are ongoing.

We support the Indian government’s ambitions to be self-reliant and believe a solid, strategic partnership can see products and solutions developed not only for India’s requirement but also for exports from the country.

The Indian Air Force (IAF) inducted its first indigenously developed AEW&C system, mounted on a Brazilian Embraer-145 jet. Have you received any requests from the government for more jets for using them for Electronic warfare?

Embraer collaborated with India to develop the `Netra’ AEW&C on three Embraer ERJ145 jets. These are currently being operated by the Indian Air Force (IAF) and were also deployed during critical missions.

There are a whole host of Embraer aircraft and systems that are perfectly-suited to amplify India’s defense capabilities.

The latest Praetor 600 is a full fly-by-wire super mid-size jet which offers a solid, reliable platform for a range of special mission capabilities. In addition, Embraer’s C-390 Millennium – the latest generation multi-mission aircraft has a proven track record of capability, reliability and outstanding performance. It can take India’s airlift capabilities to a greater level. The versatility of the C-390 Millennium makes it highly capable to operate in India, undertaking a range of missions across different terrains with a high reliability rate.

The modern features of the C-390 Millennium, such as the full fly-by-wire technology and its impressive mission completion rate means that the aircraft can be part of a quick response team along India’s vast borders or within the country.

As proven by the Brazilian Air Force which currently operates five KC-390s, the air-to-air refueling (AAR) configuration of the C-390, the aircraft is also able to be deployed rapidly to respond to emergency situations and humanitarian relief missions, triggered by floods, forest fires, earthquakes or COVID-like situations. The C-390 has already demonstrated its capability of successful take-offs and landings on unpaved runways, which, we believe, is critical to the IAF’s requirement given the diverse terrains IAF operates from.

Also, the A-29 Super Tucano, a light attack aircraft is well-suited to operate in and around India’s borders and is capable of both light attack and armed reconnaissance for intelligence gathering. The aircraft is also well connected with the command & control stations on ground or any aerial platform in the air, for communication and information exchange.

In the commercial sector, what is there for India?

On the topic of commercial aviation, we believe that regional jets like Embraer’s E-Jets and E-Jets E2 are the perfect fit for India to bring more connectivity to the country. The E195-E2, which will be on display at the Wings India, ushers in a paradigm shift – it offers a low cost per seat making it very competitive with large narrow-body aircraft that are prevalent in India.

Given the reliance on a single aircraft fleet type, the focus on larger narrow-body aircraft creates a mismatch between market demand and aircraft capacity ? compromising airlines’ ability to achieve and sustain healthy expansion country-wide. Even before COVID, 50% of domestic flights in India had from 90 to 150 passengers per flight.

The combination of right capacity and right unit cost makes the E-Jets a compelling case to connect metro to non-metro and non-metro to non-metro cities in the Indian domestic market.

Embraer is also working on a new turboprop concept, which taps on our experience and leadership position in the regional aviation segment. We see an opportunity to bring to the market a new aircraft that could be more fuel-efficient with upgraded passenger experience and green credentials.

A modern turboprop designed by Embraer would offer the least fuel burn, lowest emissions, minimal airport noise footprint and lowest trip and seat cost solution for current turboprop routes.

It would also deliver a jet-like experience to the customer including airport bridge capability, lower noise, less vibration, more personal space for guests, more cabin baggage space, proper galleys and lavatories.

Embraer is currently in discussion with suppliers and possible partners for this project and for sure India is a great potential market.

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