Embraer expects market for large-cabin jets

 - October 2, 2006, 6:41 AM

Business jet passengers in the Asia-Pacific market will appreciate the generous cabin space Embraer’s Legacy offers, according to Guan Dongyuan, managing director of the Brazilian manufacturer’s Chinese joint venture. He told AIN that demand for business aircraft in the region will not necessarily follow the pattern in North America and Europe, where operators have tended to enter the market with a small model and work their way up to larger equipment.

“Businesses in Asia will often need to travel in larger groups with executives and interpreters and support staff,” he explained. That said, Embraer is also offering its new very light jet and light jet models. Dongyuan also believes that there is potential for the Legacy to be used in a corporate shuttle configuration to support companies in remote areas with limited access to airline service.

Embraer delivered its first Legacy to an Asia-Pacific customer last September. Jet Asia operates the 13-seat aircraft under a management contract with its operator, an undisclosed business in Macau.

With 3,250-nm range carrying eight passengers, the Legacy can fly nonstop from Macau to Australia or New Delhi, India. Its cabin is 42.5 feet long, 6.9 feet wide and 6 feet high.

Legacy pilots can train on an Embraer ERJ 145 regional jet simulator operated by China Southern Airlines in Zhuhai, China. Spare parts are available from the manufacturer’s warehouse in Beijing, which is operated by China Aviation Supply.

Unlike the ERJ 135/145s from which the Legacy is derived, the business jet is not produced by Embraer China’s factory in Harbin, a joint venture with Aviation Industries of China. The Legacys are built and completed at Embraer’s São Jose dos Campos headquarters in Brazil.

In addition to the Legacy, Jet Asia operates two Challenger 601s, a Global Express and a VIP-configured Boeing 727. According to the charter operator’s CEO, Chuck Woods, aircraft charter allows customers to complete in three days business trips that previously took five or six days using the airlines.

Woods, who also serves as vice chairman of the Asian Business Aviation Association, said that during the severe acute respiratory syndrome health crisis, flying activity in the company’s Challengers tripled in a three-month period as customers sought to avoid direct contact with airline passengers who might have been infected with the disease. He added that high-profile Hong Kong clients are now flying out of nearby Macau to avoid paparazzi photographers.