Embraer foresees future in Lineage

 - March 29, 2007, 6:33 AM

Embraer decided to name its newest business jet the Lineage 1000, drawing parallels to the company’s first business jet, which was also a derivative of one of its passenger airliners.

The Lineage bizliner was officially launched in the spring of last year and is based on the Brazilian manufacturer’s new, 90-passenger E190 twinjet airliner platform. It seemed a natural extension of its successful Legacy business jet program, which was itself based on the ERJ 135 regional jet, said Marco Tulio Pellegrini, Embraer v-p of market intelligence for executive jets.

Last year alone, Embraer delivered 27 Legacy 600s, and at this point claims that its order book for the Lineage 1000 is nearing 10 aircraft secured “with non-refundable deposits.”

According to Pellegrini, the Lineage fits a market niche between the larger and more expensive Boeing Business Jet and the similarly priced but much smaller G550 and Global XRS.

The max takeoff weight of a typically equipped Lineage is expected to be 121,252 pounds, slightly more than that of its E190 airliner counterpart. However, auxiliary fuel tanks in the baggage bay will boost the max range from 2,300 nm for the E190 to 4,200 nm with 12 passengers for the Lineage, allowing the airplane to make nonstop flights from Europe to the Middle East and the U.S.

The range, said Pellegrini, falls within what a customer advisory board felt adequate, noting that despite the 6,000-nm max range potential of the BBJ, few of its buyers choose to give up cabin capacity in favor of the additional auxiliary fuel tanks to achieve such long legs.

Powered by two 18,500-pound thrust General Electric CF34-10E7 turbofans, the Lineage is expected to offer a max speed of Mach 0.82 and a ceiling of 41,000 feet.
Embraer has been referring to the Lineage as an “ultra-large business jet,” noting that a typical cabin configuration will accommodate 13 to 19 passengers in an interior of modular design with as many as five zones.

There will be “many, many” interior configurations and options, said Paul Priestman, a director at the London-based design firm of Priestman Goode, which will create the Lineage cabin.

Priestman said the designers working on behalf of Embraer are looking for a consistency and a quality of detailing, as well as a more modern ambiance, that would define “a new standard in luxury a cut above today’s typical private jet.

“The entrance to the business jet with a galley and lavatory has always annoyed me,” said Priestman, offering one example. “We redesigned that immediate area upon entering the airplane as a more personal and elegant greeting area.”

In addition to the standard five cabin zones, there will also be a 615-cu-ft baggage area accessible during flight. Among the modular options are a shower and as many as three lavatories.

Priestman emphasized that there will be considerable room for customization within and beyond the modular design standard items and options. A customer who prefers a more highly personalized airplane will “most definitely not be disappointed.” Whatever the choice, Priestman Goode and Embraer expect to maintain an open environment that is more like a home in the sky. “It’s a large aircraft and we don’t want to give the illusion of anything less,” said Priestman.

PATS Aircraft in George- town, Del., and other divisions of its parent company DeCrane Aircraft have been selected to build and install the Lineage interiors. The airplanes will be delivered to DeCrane with a basic white exterior paint scheme. When they are returned to Brazil with the finished interior, Embraer will apply the final exterior paint details.

“The partnership we’ve developed with Embraer is based on DeCrane being able to bring a lot to the table in terms of interior components,” said Dominick Scott, v-p of procurement for PATS. This would include everything from seats to cabinetry
to sidewalls. The entertainment system, for example, said Scott, will come from DeCrane’s Audio International division and will include iPod docks and accommodate Microsoft’s XBox games and software.

A joint development team of DeCrane and Embraer engineers is at work to come up with solutions to reduce the completion cycle time. These solutions will not slow down the airline production line from which the Lineage 1000s will be drawn.

Meanwhile, DeCrane and Priestman Goode are continuing to consult and expect to present final cabin configurations in the form of a computer virtual walk-through at the European Business Aviation Convention & Exhibition (EBACE) in Geneva next month.

Embraer already has orders for 317 airplanes in its airline variant, as well as options on another 200, so the E190 airliner assembly line will be busy. Nevertheless, DeCrane expects to see the first Lineage roll into its completion shop in the third quarter. Delivery is anticipated by the middle of next year.

‘Guarded Optimism’ for Ultra-large Bizliner
Despite PATS’ experience as the sole provider of auxiliary fuel tanks for the Boeing Business Jet, Embraer will be building and installing the tanks in Brazil before sending the green airplanes north for cabin completion work. The placement of the baggage compartment on the cabin level allows for the installation of auxiliary fuel tanks in the airplane’s belly.

Embraer senior v-p for executive jets Luis Carlos Affonso said the customer base for the airplane will be rather broad and include wealthy individuals, governments, charter operators and corporations.

While initial market acceptance of the Lineage 1000 seems enthusiastic, based on its recent market forecasts for 2007-2016, Embraer is guardedly optimistic. The company sees a 2-percent increase in deliveries of aircraft in that category over the next decade. The largest market is expected to be the Middle East, where “ultra-large” aircraft deliveries are expected to jump by 26 percent, representing a 43-percent increase in revenues.