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Paris Air Show Spotlights Small, Efficient Jets

Major commercial aircraft manufacturers, such as Airbus and Boeing, have captured most of the attention at this year's Paris Air Show in France. But VOA's Chris Simkins reports from Paris other aircraft-makers are successfully building smaller jets for low cost airlines.

This is the newest jet airplane built by Brazilian manufacturer Embraer. The Embraer 175 and 195 passenger planes are on display at the Paris Air Show. The planes are designed to meet a growing need by airlines for smaller jets that carry passengers on flights of three hours or less.

Horacio Forjaz is head of Corporate Communications for Embraer. "Aircraft size does matter. Airlines cannot afford anymore to fly 150 and 160 seat planes half empty. They are looking for aircraft that are sized exactly as demanded by the route they operate. And there is, as a result, a great demand for aircraft with the exact range we are offering today, 70 to 110 seats."

In the last 10 years, Embraer has sold 1,000 jet planes, mostly to major airlines in the United States. Now the company is targeting regional and low-cost air carriers such as FlyBE in Europe and Paramount in India. Many of those airlines fly point-to-point, rather than taking passengers to hub airports to change planes.

The Canadian aircraft-maker Bombardier is the industry leader for smaller twin-jet and turboprop planes. Barry MacKinnon, Vice President of Marketing, says the company is focusing more on selling its regional jets to low-cost air carriers worldwide.

"The great advantage of a regional jet is that because the cost per trip is less, you do not need as many passengers per departure to fill the aircraft and to make money,” says Mr. MacKinnon. “So regional jets are ideal for lower density smaller city pairs, and the main role is providing more frequency, more non-stop flights and more convenience to passengers."

Bombardier is also looking to expand its market-share in places like China and India. The future for both Bombardier and Embraer is bright, as the demand for regional jet service shows no sign of slowing.