Embraer and Ratheon keeping an eye on the light jet market

 - October 11, 2006, 11:50 AM

Two more established OEMs–Embraer and Raytheon Aircraft–confirmed they are looking at introducing aircraft into the light or very light jet market. But they have yet to commit to firm projects as Cessna has with the Citation Mustang.

Brazilian airframer Embraer, which manufactures regional jets and the Legacy business jet derivative of the ERJ-135, is “looking at a number of options for a new aircraft,” including a light business jet, according to a spokesman at the company’s U.S. offices in Florida.

The spokesman declined to provide details, other than to claim there is no timetable. He further declined to comment on whether a light business jet is actually under development, saying the company is “constantly looking at product developments.”

During Embraer’s second-quarter conference call last month, company president and CEO Mauricio Botelho said the business aviation market is a “normal growth area.” He explained that his company is “considering the full range of business aircraft, from light to large jets.” Botelho added, “So far, there’s no decision; we’re just studying the situation.”

Meanwhile, Raytheon Aircraft revealed it is studying the market for very light jets but emphasized it is “too early to commit to the market,” according to a spokesman. “We’re going to wait and see how the market is going to develop.” The spokesman confirmed that Beechcraft president Randy Groom said that if the company decides to enter the VLJ segment, it would do so with an aircraft created on a “clean sheet of paper” rather than a petite derivative of a current product.