London City”s future appears assured with news from the Paris Air Show that the Embraer 170 has been certificated for the steep approached pattern required at the airport. Aircraft normally approach an airport at an angle of 3 degrees, but due to London City”s closeness to built-up area”s it was agreed when the airport was approved in 1986 that a 5 degree glidescope be used in order to keep noise to a minimum.
Embraer came out with its news on Sunday. On Tuesday Airbus announced that the Pratt & Whitney powered 100 seat A318 had gained approval too. The news comes within days of the Bombardier 604/605 so called "wide bodied" business jet also winning endorsement by the European and Canadian authorities.
With the Bombardier Q400 series already operating at LCY, and now both Embraer and Airbus making the breakthrough, carriers will for the future have a choice of aircraft in the 70 to 100 seat range.
Presently only the BAe146 Avro series of the regional jets has certification, but that is out of production, while the lack of alternative aircraft types has been a cause for concern by the airport management. The BAe 146 however, is likely to be around for many years as the four-engined aircraft can carry up to 110 passengers.
”The capability for operating out of London City Airport is something we have promised the market from the very beginning of the 170 design,” said Mauro Kern, Embraer”s executive vice president, airline market. ”It was a big challenge overcome by our development team and European airlines can now count on an important tool to fly to/from in the high yield LCY market.”
Embraer says that the range of the aircraft (more than 750nm, or just under 1400kms) covers all current routes operated from LCY and gives more flexibility to airlines to add destinations in a high yield market.
The larger Embraer 190 family, as operated by Flybe, will incorporate the same functionality and its certification is on schedule for December 2008.
In another significant move, Lufthansa has announced that it will purchase 30 of the 190 series, effectively replacing the original Swissair order for the smaller 170, which is now considered cancelled. Lufthansa and its partners operate 60 of the BAe types.
These new Embraers are expected to replace many of these 146 machines, some of which operate into LCY. The first Lufthansa EMB 190 is due for delivery in January 2009.