On December 5, Embraer Executive Jets opened its Global Customer Center at the Melbourne International Airport in Florida and simultaneously delivered the first U.S.-assembled Phenom 100 to Executive AirShare. With this delivery, the Kansas City, Mo.-based fractional provider now has 18 Phenoms (thirteen 100s and five 300s).
The new 58,000-sq-ft customer center completes the second–and, for now, final–construction phase at Embraer’s Melbourne location; the adjacent Phenom final assembly plant opened last February. At the facility, Embraer Executive Jets customers from around the world will come to select colors, fabrics, paint schemes and options for all of the Brazilian aircraft manufacturer’s Phenom, Legacy and Lineage business jets.
The Melbourne facility also serves as a delivery center for all U.S.-assembled Phenom 100s and, starting in the second half of next year, U.S.-assembled Phenom 300s. Only a handful of Phenom 100s were delivered last month in Melbourne, but this will ramp up to 30 Phenom 100s and 300s this year and 60 of the two light jet models next year. Total annual Phenom production capacity at Melbourne is 96 aircraft.
Fuselage, tail and wing subassemblies for the U.S.-built Phenoms are transported via cargo ships from São Paulo, Brazil, to Miami; from there, they are trucked to Melbourne for assembly. Door-to-door shipping takes about three weeks. Once the assemblies arrive in Melbourne, Embraer estimates that it will take another six weeks to assemble the light jets, though this is currently taking longer as its U.S. workers learn the process.
Embraer president and CEO Frederico Curado told AIN that there is room for expansion at the 80-acre site in Melbourne, leaving open the possibility that more Embraer business jets beyond the Phenoms could eventually be assembled in the U.S.