Details emerged about two more very light jets (VLJs) during last month’s Latin American Business Aviation Conference and Exhibition in Brazil, a fitting venue since both aircraft are being developed in the South American country. One is from Embraer, and the other is a $2 million to $2.5 million twinjet version of the former single-engine VisionAire Vantage.
Back in 2003, when then U.S. National Security Advisor Condoleeza Rice was advising the White House on how to handle the diplomatic fall-out from the transatlantic row over the Iraq war she reportedly urged President Bush to “Punish the French, ignore the Germans and forgive the Russians.”
LABACE, the Latin American Business Aviation Conference & Exhibition, is a success, at least in terms of scale, but the show is not without its growing pains.
Cosponsored by NBAA and the Associação Brasileira de Aviação Geral (ABAG, the Brazilian association of general aviation), it is a modest exhibition, especially when compared with the much larger EBACE and the NBAA Convention.
Jet Aviation has announced that it will invest between $8 and $10 million to build an FBO at Viracopos Airport in Campinas, about 62 miles from São Paulo. The operation will be Jet Aviation’s first in Latin America and will offer aircraft maintenance and ground services.
Embraer delivered two Legacy business jets in the first quarter compared with none in the same period last year, in addition to 28 regional jets, according to the Brazilian airframer. The company delivered 13 Legacys last year and in 2003. Embraer is expecting to deliver a total of 145 corporate and regional jets this year.
Embraer and Bombardier each collected significant orders late last month for their respective regional jets, the Brazilian manufacturer from Saudi Arabian Airlines for 15 dual-class Embraer 170s and the Canadian airframe maker from Northwest Airlines for 15 fifty-seat CRJ200s. Embraer’s sale marked its first from the Middle East, a potentially lucrative market where regional networks remain largely undeveloped.
Riding the wave created by the success of its 50-seat regional jet program (now on the wane as the regional airlines evolve toward larger aircraft), Brazilian aircraft manufacturer Embraer has set its sights on becoming a major player in the business aviation market to bolster its move into building larger regional airliners (the 170 and 190 lines).
Twilight has fallen unceremoniously on the heyday of the 50-seat regional jet, and Bombardier’s October 28 announcement that it would suspend production of the CRJ200 only underscored that fact. Of course, the recent bankruptcies of Northwest Airlines, Delta Air Lines and Independence Air haven’t helped, but signs of a meltdown came long before any CRJ operators stopped deliveries or started grounding airplanes.
A trade accord between Brazilian president Luis Inacio Lula da Silva and Russian president Vladimir Putin reached during Lula’s October visit to Moscow called for, among many other things, an appraisal of a possible co-production deal involving Embraer and Russia’s Aviakor.
It was a close race, but in the end Brazilian airplane builder Embraer chose the Garmin G1000 avionics system for the company’s in-development very light jet and light jet, now known officially as the Phenom 100 and 300.