Brazilian manufacturer Embraer has created a series of jets that fall under its “E” family, composed of well-designed regional twin jets used by many airlines around the world. Both the Embraer 170 and the Embraer 175 belong to this family and are the smaller two of its four variants. Yet they still maintain popularity with the airlines they fly for and are still in the skies today.
With the next-generation E2 jets becoming increasingly common in airlines’ fleets, let’s take a look at the primary differences between the still popular original Embraer 170 and 175.
The Embraer E jets were officially announced at the Paris Airshow in 1999. Both the Embraer 170 and the Embraer 190 were introduced, with their launch customer being the Swiss airline Crossair which ordered 30 E170s and 30 E190s. A small regional airline from France called Regional Compagnie Aerienne Europeenne made their first order as well, with 10 orders of the E170.
Having entered into service in 2004, the Embraer E170 is the smallest of the E Jet family. With the E175 being larger and getting more variants and specifications, resulting in more orders, the E170 mostly went out of production around 2017.
The E170 openly competes with the Bombardier CRJ700 in performance and seating and is often compared to the Dash 8 Q400 turboprop.
Launched by Air Canada in 2005, the Embraer 175 is often called the stretched version of the E170. Other than by size, you can tell the difference between the 170 and some 175 by the change in winglets that were installed on the E175 after 2017. The angled winglets were different from the usual E175 winglets and increased the wingspan by almost 9 feet.
The E175 has the more recent SC model, which stands for Special Configuration. This model provides better performance at the limitation of having 70 seats, and is marketed as an improved Bombardier CRJ700, sporting more efficiency and comfort.
The Embraer 170 has a passenger capacity of 66 to 78, and is flown by 2 pilots. The exact seat specifications are decided by airlines upon order. The 66 seating arrangement comes in a two-class configuration while the 78 seat arrangement is considered to be a densely packed arrangement.
The Embraer 175 can carry between 78 to 88 passengers, with 76 in a two-class configuration and 88 in a more compact seating arrangement.
The E170 and the E175 are both powered by two General Electric CF34-8E engines. These engines provide 14,200 lbs of thrust each. This allows both aircraft to cruise at Mach .75 or 495 mph.
The Embraer 170 has a range of 2,150 nautical miles, and the Embraer 175 has a range of 2,200 nautical miles. While there appears to be such a small difference, the extra 50 nautical miles is a make it or break it decision for some airlines. With profit generated by the routes provided to passengers, an aircraft that can’t perform to the airline’s expectations won’t make the cut.
Payload is another consideration for airlines. The E170 has a maximum payload of 9,759 kg while the E175, with its longer fuselage, has a maximum payload of 10,110 kg.
While generating profit might be the first thing in mind for an airline, a passenger is often more concerned about onboard comfort. The E170 and E175 are very similar airplanes, but comfort is dependent on the individual passenger and their preference for legroom, baggage handling and amenities.
Most Embraer 170 and 175 are set up with two rows of seats, set in pairs. This makes for no middle seats on the aircraft and provides a more comfortable seating arrangement for passengers than the larger A320 and 737 series aircraft. In this configuration passengers are guaranteed either a window or aisle seat.
Seats on the E170 and E175 are often described as comfortable and well spaced to provide plenty of legroom. Baggage can be placed over the seats in the bins and provide a lot of space for passengers. If the standard carry-on bag doesn’t fit in the overhead, many airlines provide the option to gate check the bag at the entrance to the aircraft.
Depending on the airline, some aircraft are equipped with business class or first class. These seats usually provide more leg room and are more accessible to passengers.
The Embraer E series is a group of well functioning, safe aircraft. Of 21 incidents, only seven were hull losses. Only one accident was recorded that had resulted in 44 fatalities, and one incident was a hijacking with 2 fatalities among the hijackers.
In February of 2007, an Embraer 170 operated by American Shuttle as flight 6448 ran off the runway in Ohio. The snow storm and poor visibility on landing contributed to the incident, but all 75 passengers and crew were uninjured. The aircraft was repaired and eventually returned to service.
Skywest Airlines flight 5588 operated by an Embraer 175, was flying from Houston to Mexico when it diverted to San Antonio International Airport in December of 2016. The reason for the diversion was an abnormal landing gear indication, which resulted in the nose gear collapsing on landing. Only one minor injury occurred on the flight.
With so few incidents within the Embraer E family, it is safe to say that the E170 and E175 are extremely reliable aircraft. With numerous flights daily to countless destinations, such a clean accident history makes them an aircraft that most are more than comfortable flying on.
In the end, you can tell that both aircraft are nearly identical besides their size. Their performance and efficiency make them the ideal choice for many regional airlines. They are often used for similar routes. They both have a good safety record.
Since their size is a major difference, the priority of seating arrangements needs to be decided by the airline so that the right choice about which aircraft to purchase can be made.
As such, both the Embraer 170 and the Embraer 175 are perfect for airlines with non-major routes like Delta and United, as well as European airlines like Air France and LOT Polish Airlines.