Brazilian jet manufacturer Embraer has identified "pockets of liberalisation" in the Middle East's highly regulated air market which it believed will favour smaller capacity jets, according to its one of its senior executives.
Mathieu Duquesnoy, vice-president for the Middle East and Africa, said the company saw a lot of potential in the region with opportunities to increase its 100seater concept into the Middle East.
The world's third biggest aircraft manufacturer behind Boeing and Airbus, it has 61 aircraft flown by eight Middle Eastern operators.
However, in the next 20 years it said it saw demand for at least 305 of its Ejets aircraft, which will represent around 10 percent of demand for all jets in the Middle East.
Of this, 130 were expected to be delivered in 2012-2021 with 175 scheduled for 2022-2031.
However he added: "We see a potential to have a number which is actually higher than this 305".
"Regulation is still quite strong but you have some pockets of liberalisation happening here, which will favour these smaller capacity jets," he told reporters at the Dubai Airshow.
"Not all routes can be flown with A380 here in the Middle East, not all routes can be flown with A320 and the 737 and there is really a strong role to play for this 100-seater capacity."
Duquesnoy said in terms of market share by flights, 18 percent of all flights in the Middle East were being flown by its EJet.
But for market share overall, 62 percent of sales (for 60 to 120 seat jets) were with Embraer.
"This is something we're very proud of, baring in mind we started with zero six years ago," he said.
He said although "we're in the land of the A380 and 777X still there's lots of applications in this part of the world that do require this capacity".
He said the EJet was the second-most operated type for intra Middle East operations.
"So, we went from nothing in 2005 to basically 20 percent market share in terms of intra Middle East operations," he said. "It's more than the 737 for example."
Its airline partnerships in the Middle East include NasAir, OmanAir, Royal Jordanian.
He said OmanAir and Royal Jordanian were flying more than four-hour sectors with the EJets.
"Obviously it's no longer a regional, small aircraft-type application," Duquesnoy said.
Chief Commercial Officer John Sattery said the C-Series, which had positioned itself principally in competition with Boeing and Airbus, had made it "difficult to extract sales".
"We at Embraer have positioned ourselves with the benefit of second mover advantage to continue within the 70 to now-130 seat category to the airlines. The airlines see us as the right-sized solution to complement to A380 or the 737, whereas the C Series is more of a direct competitor."
He said it planned to grow its number of airlines from 65 to more than 100 by the end of 2017, early 2018.