SAO PAULO, BRAZIL — Brazilian aircraft manufacturer Embraer is in talks with potential partners for its future turboprop regional passenger aircraft program, which is expected to launch in mid-2023. The Brazilian airframer is also in talks with engine manufacturers about its proposed turboprop.

The Franco-Italian planemaker ATR currently dominates the regional turboprop market, which is growing very fast, especially in the Asia-Pacific region, thanks to the new airfields connecting rural areas to the main hubs.

With its turboprop program, Embraer seeks to compete with ATR and Canada's De Havilland, the two big turboprop passenger aircraft manufacturers.

Embraer produced its first turboprop EMB 110 Bandeirante in 1968 as a general-purpose 15–21 passenger light transport aircraft for military and commercial use. The aircraft was introduced to the market in 1973, and launch operators were the Brazilian Air Force and Wiggins Airways, an American cargo operator based in Boston Regional Airport. The airframer ended the production of the aircraft in 1990.

EMB 110 Bandeirante 

EMB 120 Brasilia, the second turboprop introduced to the market by Embraer, made its first flight on July 27, 1983. The aircraft attracted immediate interest from many regional airlines, particularly in the US. Its passenger capacity (30), speed, and ceiling allowed faster and more direct services around the US and Europe compared to similar aircraft. The first aircraft entered into service with Atlantic Southeast Airlines in October 1985. Embraer ended the production in 2001, although the aircraft is still in service with a few operators around the world.

EMB 120 Brasilia

The Brazilian planemaker has been discussing returning to the turboprop market since 2017. The company was able to opt for financial backing from the government and creditors in 2020.

"We're powering on with that. That's going to be a big decision we have to make. For the launch, we are looking at mid-2023," 

said Arjan Meijer, President and CEO of Embraer Commercial Aviation.

The plane is expected to enter service in late 2027 or early 2028, he said in an interview.

Embraer has issued a public tender for engine manufacturers and expects to make a decision by the end of this year.