Embraer prepares for light jet market entry

 - October 17, 2006, 6:35 AM

Embraer, which unveiled a new very light jet (VLJ) and a new light jet in May, sees a market for 2,515 VLJs between next year and 2015 and projects slightly less demand– 1,755–for light jets during the same period.

The Brazilian aircraft manufacturer wants to become a major player in the business aviation market within 10 years, and it expects that market to grow from last year’s $23.5 billion to $33.6 billion by 2014. Of the $23.5 billion market, $10.5 billion was in airframe and OEM products, $4.1 billion came from charter and aircraft management services, $3.8 billion from FBO operations and $2.2 billion from MRO activities. Fractional ownership added $1.9 billion and completion and refurbishment $1 billion.

By 2014, Embraer expects those figures to be $16 billion in airframe/OEM, $6 billion in charter and aircraft management, $4.5 billion from FBOs, $3.3 billion from fractional ownership, $2.6 billion in MRO work, and $1.2 billion in completion and refurbishment.

Embraer hopes that its two new business jets will be the beginning of a line that could encompass everything from VLJs to ultra-long-range aircraft. The company plans an unveiling (and naming) ceremony for its new VLJ and LJ on November 9 at the NBAA Convention in Orlando, Fla., with program updates to follow the next day. The two clean-sheet jets will join the company’s super-midsize Legacy.

At a recent media briefing in Washington, Luis Carlos Affonso, senior v-p for executive aviation at Embraer, said the company estimates that 9,680 aircraft worth $144 billion will be delivered between next year and 2015, and that does not include demand for air taxis, which could account for another 2,500 to 3,000 VLJs and light jets. Even without this wild-card factor, the airframer estimates that 44 percent of the business jet sales will be in the VLJ or light jet category–26 percent for the VLJs and 18 percent for light jets.

According to Embraer, 72 percent of the VLJs will go to North America and the Caribbean; 17 percent to Europe, Africa and the Middle East; and the remaining 8 percent to the the rest of the world. For the light jets, the breakdown will be 79 percent North America/Caribbean; 13 percent Europe, Africa and the Middle East; and 8 percent in the rest of the world.