Embraer’s first Phenom 300 twinjet manufactured in the U.S. and delivered to a buyer left the company’s Melbourne, Fla. facility on March 29. The identity of the jet’s buyer was not disclosed. “This is a major milestone for Embraer Executive Jets and proves the maturity of our assembly facilities,” said Phil Krull, managing director of Melbourne assembly for Embraer Executive Jets. “We have quickened the manufacturing pace and will be able to accommodate a more demanding schedule.”
Florida Gov. Rick Scott and other political leaders joined Embraer president and CEO Frederico Curado on March 26 to cut the ribbon on a 40,000-sq-ft hangar at Jacksonville International Airport that Embraer will use to assemble the A-29 Super Tucano for the U.S. Air Force Light Air Support (LAS) program.
The third Embraer Legacy 500 joined the flight-test fleet on Friday, after making its initial flight from the company’s São José dos Campos, Brazil facility. “With the first two prototypes already well into the flight-test program, the first flight of the third Legacy 500 is a major milestone for the program,” said Embraer Executive Jets president Ernest Edwards. “The four-aircraft test program is designed to ensure all systems and features on the Legacy 500 reach maturity before entering service.
Embraer’s business-aviation results for fiscal year 2012, released yesterday, were flat, with deliveries of 99 business jets equaling the tally in 2011. But net revenue increased, to $1.292 billion last year from $1.118 billion in 2011, thanks to a more favorable mix of model deliveries.
In 2011, the Brazilian OEM delivered 83 light jets and 16 large jets. Last year those numbers shifted, with deliveries of 77 light jets and 22 more lucrative large jets, boosting executive jet revenue by more than 20 percent last year.
Though largely overshadowed by a heavy military presence, the business aviation sector made its voice heard at last month’s Aero India show in Bangalore (February 6 to 10). Serious obstacles continue to stand in the way of those trying to fulfill bizav’s undoubted potential in this vast emerging market (see box), but this has not deterred the major manufacturers from increasing their presence in India.
Embraer’s Legacy 450/500 program suffered a one-year delay, although the originally planned 3.5-year span to develop and certify a new airplane incorporating so much new technology might have been ambitious. The fly-by-wire (FBW) Legacy 500 will be first to enter service and is on track for certification in the second half of this year and entry into service by year-end or early next year, followed by the 450 about a year later.
While the business aviation industry greets each morsel of positive economic news with cautious optimism, continuing financial indecision made 2012 another depressed year for turbine aircraft deliveries, according to the General Aviation Manufacturers Association (GAMA), which released its year-end delivery totals last month. Last year general aviation reached a milestone of sorts, according to GAMA chairman Brad Mottier. For the first time, he noted, shipments to North American buyers in all three airplane segments–jets, turboprops and pistons–dipped to 50 percent.
Embraer Defense and Security and AEL Systems, the Brazilian subsidiary of Israel’s Elbit Systems, signed an agreement to accept unmanned aircraft systems (UAS) developer Avibras as a shareholder in their UAS-focused joint venture, Harpia Systems.
Embraer believes it stands to benefit from the Indian military’s desire to maximize commonality in its fleet of aircraft in a bid to control maintenance costs. Five of the Brazilian manufacturer’s Legacy jets are in use with the Indian Air Force (IAF) and Border Security Force for functions such as transporting government officials and visiting foreign dignitaries.
Embraer released its 2013 outlook yesterday, forecasting delivery of between 105 and 120 business jets this year, up from 99 last year. The forecast is for delivery of up to 90 light and 30 large-cabin business jets, compared with 77 and 22, respectively, last year. The company’s executive aviation segment is expected to contribute 25 percent of Embraer’s revenues this year.