Embraer Challenges Geared Turbofan Efficiency Claims

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It's the economy, stupid. Bombardier's pre-Farnborough assertion that its Pratt & Whitney geared-turbofan-powered CSeries 100-149 seat regional jets (due in 2013) could be 20 percent more efficient than rival aircraft has rival aircraft manufacturer Embraer saying "not so fast." Embraer (the third largest aircraft manufacturer in the world) has spun the argument to operating costs and says its 110-seat E195 would only fall behind a CSeries C-110 by 3 or 4 percent in 2013 -- after the E195 undergoes improvements. Speaking of the CSeries, Embraer CEO Frederico Curado said in an interview with the Montreal Gazette, "We're not making any assertion that the airplane will not deliver what it promises, nothing like that. We are assuming that it will." He then went on to add, "But we are disputing the figures they are promising, this 15 to 20 percent thing is really unreal." Curado believes that the Pratt's efficiencies exist, but are compromised by their attachment to an airframe in the real world. Bombardier says it has taken those considerations into account.

In the end, Curado estimates that laboratory figures showing 15-percent efficiency improvements will translate to 9 percent in a real-world application and his company's E195 will make up about 4 percent through design improvements. Bombardier is aware of Curado's concerns and is standing by its efficiency claims.