As the business aircraft market continues to recover from the industry downturn, AIN took a look at recent forecasts from manufacturers as to where growth may be heading and the factors that are likely to affect it most.
Embraer Phenom 100
Embraer Executive Jets’ first U.S.-assembled Phenom 300 was rolled out and made its first flight yesterday, exactly one year after the first Phenom 100 to be produced in the U.S. took its maiden flight. The Phenom 300 started rolling down the company’s Melbourne, Fla. assembly line in September. Delivery of this light jet is scheduled in the first quarter; it will go to the Embraer Executive Jets Melbourne-based flight department, which will use it as a demonstrator.
The slow and destructive passage of Hurricane Sandy before the 65th NBAA Convention and Tradeshow opened in Orlando on October 30 generated great concern about the safety of travelers and worry about what they would find when they returned home to the Northeast. Although New York-area airports opened in time for return flights, many worried about widespread power outages, severe water damage, destroyed infrastructure and ongoing challenges finding out anything about local facilities because so much of the cellphone network was compromised.
The Civil Aviation Administration of China issued Embraer with a type certificate for its Phenom 300 light jet on the first day of Airshow China 2012 in Zhuhai. The Chinese authorities have now approved all five of the Brazilian manufacturer’s in-production business aircraft. Embraer China president Guan Dongyuan told a press conference that to date it has sold 28 of these (plus options for five more) to customers in China.
This week at the NBAA Convention, Embraer Executive Jets is displaying a complete Legacy 450 cabin and cockpit mockup for the first time. The mid-light Legacy 450, which is expected to enter service in 2015, is designed to carry up to nine passengers and have a range of 2,300 nm with four passengers at Mach 0.78. The interior on display, which was designed in partnership with DesignworksUSA, features a stand-up cabin with a flat floor.
Embraer Executive Jets is expanding its Melbourne, Fla. campus. Already home to a Phenom 100 and 300 assembly plant and a state-of-the-art customer center, Embraer has begun construction on a 67,000-sq-ft engineering and technology center announced earlier this year.
Embraer is bringing interior development and modification for its full line of corporate jets in-house. That’s the word from Ernest Edwards, president of Embraer Executive Jets. The company previously contracted with BMW Designworks USA for the interior cabin design on its Phenom and Legacy jets. Embraer’s new customer center and its under-construction engineering and technical center, both at its Melbourne, Fla. campus, will be the epicenter of the new effort.
Before digging into the details of each of the light jet markets, it’s worth noting some global factors affecting the market. In 2012, the big story in the light jet market was Europe and the devaluing euro. As the light jet market typically trades in U.S. dollars, with the euro dropping nearly 20 percent in value compared to last year, European sellers saw an opportunity to take advantage of the strong dollar and liquidate at relatively lower dollar values for their assets, yielding a higher amount of euros.
Embraer displayed the midsize Legacy 500 prototype for the first time with a painted finish on Friday to a group of aviation journalists visiting the manufacturer’s headquarters in São José dos Campos, Brazil. Legacy 500 S/N 001, the first of four planned flight-test aircraft, is currently being prepared to fly before year-end.
Irvine, Calif.-based JetSuite announced an order today for 15 Cessna Citation CJ3s, which will double the size of its fleet and expand its offerings beyond the Embraer Phenom 100. The charter membership firm started taking bookings today for the new, longer-range CJ3s, though inaugural flights won’t begin until November 19. During the first year of operations, JetSuite’s CJ3 service will be available between any points east of the Mississippi and from the East to and from Aspen and Vail, and through Eastern Canada and the Caribbean.