Embraer launched its E2 “Profit Hunter” jet two years ago.

FINN caught up with Embraer President and CEO Jon Slattery just as the programme reached completion for its launch in December 2017. It was a launch, Slattery said, that was: “Ahead of schedule, we’re under budget and the aircraft is ahead of technical specifications.”

He added: “We’re going to enter into revenue-generating service with Wideroe in Norway on the 24th of April. We are right around 85 per cent of the flight test programme and we’re accelerating now into full certification within 90 days.”

A new era with the E2

When asked what made the E2 different, Slattery said: “It’s a profit-hunting machine…[that is] going to generate an improved return on invested capital.”

“At an operating level, it burns less fuel,” he explained. “The cost of maintenance is significantly lower because of the improvements that we’ve made and the lessons that we’ve learned on over 22 million flight hours on the E1. All those lessons have been deployed into the E2 to keep the cost of maintenance down. Compared to the larger narrow bodies, you’ve got a trip cost that’s 20 per cent lower than an A320, but it’s got a seat mile cost that’s almost the same. That’s why we’re calling it a revenue profit hunter for the airlines.”

“I’m paid to be paranoid”

We also asked Slattery what keeps him awake at night as a senior executive in aerospace. “I’m paid to be paranoid,” he said. “It’s different things at different times. Right now it’s about ensuring the programme continues on the schedule. Our shareholders are expecting us to continue to come in under budget, to continue to be on time and our airlines want the aircraft to meet the technical specifications and perhaps even beat the technical specifications. That’s what my focus is right now, that’s what keeps me going.”

He added: “Of course I think about sales. We need to broaden and deepen our capabilities.

“When you study different programmes that have entered into service in the course of the last 40 years, there is almost a perfect correlation between the moment of certification and new deals.”

“I am excited about that and I’m hopeful that Embraer won’t let the empirical evidence of the past down.”