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Helping hand

Embraer is devoting time and effort to beef up its customer support services

Already heavily involved in setting up maintenance provisions for the new Embraer E-Jet E2 programme (see MRO Management, September 2016), Johann Bordais, recently announced as new Embraer Vice President for Global Services & Support, has taken on additional responsibilities with the creation of a business unit focused on services and customer support across the company’s Commercial, Business Aviation and Defense & Security divisions. Before taking this new position, he was the Vice President of Services & Support for Embraer Commercial Aviation.


The daily customer relationship structure will remain under the responsibility of each division, but the new organisation, due to start operating in 1H17, will be responsible for maintaining current products and services as well as developing new offerings for current and future programmes. This will include legacy aircraft as well as new types such as the E-Jet E2 and KC-390 tactical transport that are yet to enter service.


The potential market is large. There are currently around 2,000 Embraer aircraft in commercial operation, plus over 1,000 executive jets, as well as the military fleets. Over the next 20 years, the company estimates that 6,400 new commercial jets with up to 130 seats will be put into service. In business aviation, forecasts indicate that there will be more than 8,000 new jets placed into service over the next decade.


Another reason for the new division is that relationships with airlines, air forces and business jet owners can be complex. A good example is Airlink, southern Africa’s largest independent regional airline. It has plans to replace its fleet of Avro RJ85s with up to 13 Embraer E170/190s, five of which will be bought from ECC Leasing, a wholly owned subsidiary – the other eight will be acquired in the market. It has also recently added 11 ERJ 140s from the same source.


In addition, Airlink has assigned a Flight Hour Pool Program agreement, under which Embraer takes responsibility for component inventories and repairs on behalf of operators (it now supports more than 65% of E-Jet customers worldwide). Originally intended for its current ERJ 135 fleet, the agreement has now been extended by eight years to cover both new types of ERJs. 


This also shows that one customer can have support requirements covering new and older aircraft, with differing requirements depending on age and anticipated service life.


On the other hand, an airline may make a major commitment to using the company’s facilities, such as SkyWest Airlines of St George, UT, which will use Embraer Aircraft Maintenance Services (EAMS) in Nashville, TN, as the exclusive provider of airframe maintenance, modifications and repair services for its fleet of 88 Embraer E175s.


In both cases, as well as in more typical relationships, the unit will look to provide tailored services that match a customer’s particular expectations. While he acknowledges the intent to develop a revenue stream, Bordais says the ultimate aim is to stay in close touch with all the companies involved – operators, MROs, suppliers and others – to gather information on day-to-day experiences, new problems, costs and turnaround times. This can be used to improve reliability and maintainability across the worldwide fleet. The operational data can also be used for predictive maintenance and digital health monitoring solutions.


Legacy aircraft


For the Commercial division, the legacy products are the EMB-120 Brasilia, EMB-110 Bandeirante and the ERJ 135/140/145 family. The Brasilia/Bandeirante turboprop fleet is steadily declining, but low fuel prices have kept ERJs in commercial service for longer than expected. In both cases, there are smaller customers with smaller fleets and, increasingly, in more remote areas. 


He acknowledges that Commercial has a lot to learn from the Defense & Security division, which is still supporting the Tucano trainer and the AMX fighter, both of which entered service in the early 1980s, some 15 years before the first ERJ 145. >>

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