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Analyst: Regional Aircraft Manufacturers Face Changing Competitive Landscape

Study Finds Bombardier, Embraer, ATR Will See The Most Benefit

In a new study, "The Market for Regional Transport Aircraft", Forecast International projects that 4,016 regional aircraft, valued at some $123 billion, will be produced from 2010 through 2019. The forecast by the Connecticut-based market research firm includes both regional jets and regional turboprops, with jets accounting for about 64 percent of the total.

The Forecast International projections indicate that  will be the leaders among regional aircraft manufacturers during the 10-year forecast period. Bombardier's product line includes both jet-powered and turboprop-powered aircraft, while Embraer currently specializes in jets and ATR builds turboprops exclusively.

The top end of the regional aircraft market is seeing an influx of new models. Bombardier is developing the CSeries, a new family of 100-145 seat aircraft that transcends the boundary between the regional jet market and the large airliner market. The CSeries competes against large regional jets from Embraer and others, and also against narrowbody airliners such as the Airbus A319 and the Boeing 737-700.


C110 Artist's Rendering

According to Forecast International senior aerospace analyst Raymond Jaworowski, "The challenge from the CSeries has become a prime consideration for Airbus and Boeing as they make development decisions regarding their narrowbody families."

Embraer is well-positioned in the 70-125 seat market with its E-Jets series regional jets, and has been pondering future development strategy. Among the options being considered by the Brazilian company are a re-engining of the E-Jets family and/or a larger, all-new aircraft family. The latter would compete in the market above 125 seats, taking on Bombardier's CSeries.


Embraer E-Jet

A number of companies are looking to break into the regional aircraft market, and are developing new aircraft that compete for sales in the top segment of the market. These include the Chinese firm Comac with its ARJ21 regional jet, the Japanese company Mitsubishi with the Mitsubishi Regional Jet (MRJ), and the Russian firm Sukhoi Civil Aircraft with the Superjet 100.


Sukhoi Superjet 100

All of this activity is taking place against a backdrop of a changing regional airline industry. Regional airlines were hit hard in the 2008-2009 airline market slump. A recovery is now under way, but could easily stall should the general economy remain sluggish or drop back into recession. Meanwhile, many mainline network airlines are looking to significantly redefine their relationship to the regional airlines that operate feeder services into their networks. Feeder operations are the core business for many regional carriers. The majors want to alter, or even scrap altogether, the fixed-fee-per-departure arrangements that have traditionally defined the major/regional partnership. Increasingly, regionals are being asked to assume much of the risk, and much of the cost, of feeder operations.

FMI: www.forecastinternational.com

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