Why Embraer’s New Turboprop Has Its Engines At The Back

It’s been more than a month since Embraer released its latest iteration of its highly anticipated new turboprop…

Why Embraer’s New Turboprop Has Its Engines At The Back

It’s been more than a month since Embraer released its latest iteration of its highly anticipated new turboprop product. Set to be officially launched at some point next year, with a targeted entry into service date of 2027, the latest renderings of the aircraft had some curious alterations over previous illustrations.

The Embraer Turboprop has engines at the back, but why? Photo: Embraer

Notably, the engines have moved from their expected position under the wings to be situated either side of the aircraft’s rear fuselage. This was clearly a deliberate decision by the design team working on this project, but why? Simple Flying caught up with Embraer’s Vice President of Marketing and Strategy, Rodrigo Silva e Souza, to uncover the reasons behind this design choice.

A better passenger experience

Embraer faces some key challenges when it comes to bringing a new turboprop to the market. Notably, passengers are well known to largely despise the experience of flying on a turboprop, given their reputation for being noisy, uncomfortable and lacking in bin space.

To reinvent the experience, Embraer is taking the fuselage of the popular E-Jet as the foundation for the turboprop. This means it will instantly embrace everything good about the regional jets, from the 2-2 layout and generous personal space to the larger, accommodating overhead bins. But that doesn’t solve the issue of the noise and vibration.

Making the cabin quieter and more comfortable meant thinking again about where the engines are sited, as Rodrigo Silva e Souza, Embraer’s Vice President of Marketing and Strategy, explained,

“We realized that if we put the engines at the back, we would reduce the noise significantly. In fact, the noise levels that we get in our simulations are basically the same that we have in our jets today.”

Helvetic first E2 flight to LCY
The turboprop will use the same fuselage as the popular E2. Photo: Andrew Baker | Helvetic Airways

The E2 jets are well known for being exceptionally quiet, both from the ground and inside the cabin. To create a turboprop with jet-like quiet in the cabin is going to be a huge win for Embraer, and an impressive achievement. But that was not the only reason for relocating the powerplants. Rodrigo explained,

“The second reason to have the engines in the back is that it brings a much more modern look into the to the airplane, making it something a bit different. The passengers will realize that they will not be flying in those old, uncomfortable, and perhaps not very reliable airplanes, but in our new, modern, efficient, and more environmentally friendly airplane.”

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Hydrogen-ready

While passenger comfort and perception are clearly important, there is another, equally interesting reason to locate the engines at the back. It’s all about future-proofing the aircraft, as Silva e Souza explained,

“The other key reason to have the engines in the back is the evolution of this platform in the future. We are fully committed to integrate new propulsion system technologies as soon as they are available; as soon as the new technologies are mature in the market. For this size of plane, we understand that the future will be hydrogen powered aircraft. And when we think about a version of this product powered by hydrogen, the best configuration would be to have the hydrogen tank closer to the engine.”

Universal Hydrogen
Hydrogen is best stored in spherical or cylindrical tanks, unlike jet fuel. Photo: Universal Hydrogen

Having the fuel source close to the engines is a given, which is part of the reason modern jets store fuel in a tank that is integrated into the wing, close to the engines. But wouldn’t it be simpler to have hydrogen accommodated in a wing tank, just like jet fuel? According to Silva e Souza, that’s just not possible,

“The hydrogen tank is very different from the current tanks that we have on the wings. Hydrogen is better accommodated in a spherical shaped tank. You cannot have such a tank in a wing form, so we had to put it in the fuselage. The best place to do this was to put the hydrogen tank in the fuselage behind the passenger cabin.”

So Embraer is creating a turboprop that is not only going to shake up passenger perception of this aircraft type, but also one that will be easy to modify to take hydrogen in the future. Having the engines at the back also adds more airport gate compatibility, something that was surely on Embraer’s mind too. Overall, it’s an exciting development for the Brazilian planemaker, and one which will undoubtedly see a solid level of uptake when it’s officially launched next year.

Source : Simple Flying More   

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To The Big Apple: Condor Announces New York Flights

Germany’s leisure airline, Condor, has put on sale a five-weekly service between Frankfurt – the carrier’s main airport…

To The Big Apple: Condor Announces New York Flights

Germany’s leisure airline, Condor, has put on sale a five-weekly service between Frankfurt – the carrier’s main airport – and New York JFK. Revolving around weekend breaks to the Big Apple, it won’t be the first time it has served the route. It has been lured back from surging demand and almost 10,000 fewer weekly seats from no Singapore Airlines or Delta at the moment.

Condor operated Frankfurt-JFK on a low-capacity basis in 2016 and most years since. Photo: Oliver Holzbauer via Flickr.

What’s happening?

Starting on November 11th, the 3,351 nautical mile route – ordinarily the 15th-largest non-stop market between the US and Europe – has the following schedule, with all times local.

  • DE2016: Frankfurt-JFK, 11:10-14:00
  • DE2017: JFK-Frankfurt, 16:25-05:50+1 (the next day)

It’ll operate Thursdays to Mondays, designed for long weekend getaways to the Big Apple as Christmastime approaches, until January 9th. The B767-300ER will be used. Although which specific configuration will be deployed isn’t known, the type has three layouts, each with 35 seats in premium economy, between 18 and 30 in business, and from 180 to 202 in economy.

Condor 767
This specific aircraft is 27.5 years old and is no longer operated by Condor. Having been with China Xinjiang, Eurofly, Alitalia, and Condor, it is now with Atlas Air as N664GT. Photo: Thomas Boon – Simple Flying.

Why is it happening?

Condor’s JFK route is happening for two main reasons. Firstly, and most importantly, the US will welcome fully vaccinated citizens from most of Europe, including Germany, from November, which has resulted in burgeoning demand.

Secondly, despite this surge, 54% fewer seats were planned each week in November than previously – a drop of almost 10,000 every week. This is from neither Singapore Airlines nor Delta operating then (see later).

The US opening up once more should help Europe’s stalled recovery and boost the performance of the major US and European network carriers. After all, in normal times, the transatlantic market to the US contributes a significant proportion of their overall profitability. This opening up wasn’t lost on Condor’s CEO, Ralf Teckentrup, who said:

“After the announcement that people from the EU would be able to travel to the USA without any complications the demand for US flights has more than doubled.”

Singapore Airlines, Airbus A380, Return
Singapore Airlines’ long-standing Singapore-Frankfurt-JFK route is presently bookable from January 2nd. Photo: Getty Images.

Frankfurt to JFK; a one million seat market

Frankfurt to JFK is a highly mature market that, by definition, has seen very little growth or change in airlines in the past 17 years. It has had more or less one million seats for a long time. The lack of development is such that in 2019 it had just 1% more non-stop seats than in 2004. No real change normally means strong performance.

In the week that Condor begins, it’ll compete head-to-head with a 14-weekly offering by Lufthansa, with seven-weekly flights by both the 255-seat A330-300 and 364-seat B747-8s. Its 747-8s have eight first-class seats, 80 in business, 32 in premium economy, and 244 in economy.

The development of Frankfurt to JFK
Primera Air had planned to shake up the market by beginning it in summer 2019, along with Frankfurt to Boston, Montreal, and Toronto. However, the carrier ceased to exist in 2018. Source of data: OAG.

Singapore Airlines and Delta will be returning

Singapore Airlines has operated Singapore-Frankfurt-JFK – with fifth-freedom traffic rights – for many years, and since 2014, it has been solely by the A380. It is currently bookable from January 2nd, a week before Condor ends the route, again by the A380.

Delta, meanwhile, had a 15.4% share of the market in 2019. Its once-daily service is bookable from Frankfurt on December 6th, with the 234-seat A330-200 – Delta’s least-used aircraft – plying the route. Condor is benefiting from this capacity gap, but mainly from no Singapore Airlines.

Have you flown between JFK and Frankfurt? Let us know your experiences by commenting.

Source : Simple Flying More   

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