Embraer’s John Slattery criticises delay of sale to Boeing

EU regulators holding up sale of company’s commercial plane business to Boeing, Slattery says

Embraer’s top salesman, Irishman John Slattery, expressed his concerns about European Union regulators for holding up an agreement to sell the company’s commercial plane business to Boeing.

“I am better at supporting my team in designing and building and selling new aircraft than I am at the tedious environment or the structured environment of going through antitrust approval,” Mr Slattery, head of commercial aircraft at Embraer, said in an interview Monday in Singapore. “It is taking a lot of my time.”

It’s been more than a year since Boeing announced its agreement to buy control of the Brazilian company’s commercial airplane-and-services businesses to better compete with Airbus on smaller jetliners.

But the deal has yet to be sealed after the EU stopped the clock on its review for a second time last month, demanding more details from the jet makers.


While regulatory delays in complex transactions aren’t uncommon, the latest setback will push the EU’s deadline for a decision beyond a previous April 30th date, undermining the companies’ efforts to close the creation of the multibillion-dollar venture by early in 2020.

“We are sort of fighting with one hand – maybe even two hands – but at least one hand tied behind our backs,” said Mr Slattery, who’s in the city state for the biennial Singapore Airshow.

“The frustrated parties at the table are the airlines. It’s the airlines that want to make their fleet decisions, they want to know who they are going to be doing business with, they want robust competition so that they get the best terms and economics.”

Created in 1969 by the Brazilian government, Embraer has been touted as a source of national pride for the commodities-driven country and an example of efficiency and innovation, though corruption scandals in the past few years have tainted that image.

Embraer, which is working on potentially building a new turboprop aircraft as part of the Boeing venture, is in talks with engine makers for the project, Mr Slattery said.

Embraer will finish its review for the turboprop, which will seat a “significantly smaller” number of passengers than a 150-seat aircraft, by the end of 2020 and then send the proposal to its board, he said.

The Brazilian planemaker debuted the first of its E2 family of upgraded jets in 2018. The E190-E2 competes directly with Airbus A220, formerly Bombardier Inc.’s smallest C Series, seating as many as 114 travellers and powered by the same Pratt and Whitney geared turbofans as the Canadian jet. – Bloomberg