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PARIS, June 17 (Reuters) - Brazilian planemaker Embraer will launch on Monday a bigger and more efficient lineup of commercial jets entering service in 2018, pushing deeper into a segment that rival Bombardier has staked out with its new narrow-body CSeries.
Embraer SA plans to add three rows of seats to its biggest jet, the E-195, and one row to the E-175, a spokesman told Reuters. The second generation of E-Jets will drop the smallest model, the E-170.
The top-selling E-190 will be the first of the next generation delivered with upgraded avionics and geared turbofan engines from Pratt & Whitney. Details of the lineup are expected at a Paris Airshow press conference later on Monday.
The more efficient engines could help Embraer hold its recent leadership of the 70- to 120-seat segment, fending off new challengers like Japan's Mitsubishi Regional Jet while keeping pressure on Canadian rival Bombardier.
The big question is whether Embraer, the world's third largest commercial planemaker, has the orders to launch its new lineup with a splash.
On Friday, the company announced the late addition of a second air show press conference regarding commercial jets, stoking expectations it has plenty of news to make. Embraer declined to comment on the order speculation.
Industry giants Airbus and Boeing Co have unlocked a torrent of fresh demand in the past two years with their re-engined narrow-body aircraft, raising the industry's bar for fuel efficiency.
Bombardier which has competed for decades with Embraer in the smaller regional jet segment, is aiming its 110- to 130-seat CSeries at the lower end of the narrow-body market, but has booked just 177 firm orders.
The new version of Embraer's biggest commercial jet, the E-195, would seat 118 passengers in its dual class format, squarely in the middle of the CSeries lineup.