Brazil’s Embraer expects to reduce production of its E-Jet line of airliners by between 15- and 20 percent this year as it prepares to manage a backlog that saw its first decline in two and a half years during last year’s fourth quarter. Embraer airline market executive vice president Mauro Kern told AIN this week that a planned ramp-up of Phenom business jet production would offset much of the slowdown on the commercial side, however, and that the company expected to move some employees now working on E-Jet production to the business jet line. “We are working very hard to minimize the effect of this crisis on our manpower,” he said in response to a question about possible layoffs this year. “We see nothing significant at this point, but we’ll have to see how things develop over the year.”
Meanwhile, Embraer will almost certainly see a further contraction of its overall backlog this year, added Kern. During last year’s fourth quarter the value of Embraer’s backlog shrunk to $20.9 billion from $21.6 billion at the end of the third quarter. Last year the company set a new delivery record for itself by shipping 204 jets, 35 more than it delivered in 2007. Of those, E-Jet airliners accounted for 157, including a single executive-configured Embraer 175. A 15- to 20-percent production drop would amount to between 126 and 133 E-Jets delivered in 2009. At the end of the year its firm order backlog for the four E-Jet variants totaled 386.