The VLJ juggernaut showed no sign of slowing as Embraer landed another firm order for its line of very light jets, this time from Clearwater, Fla.-based Avantair for 20 Phenom 100s. Avantair CEO Steven Santo said he plans to accept delivery of the first airplane in June 2009, and take the balance of the order over the span of about two years. Embraer expects the Phenom 100 to earn FAA certification in mid-2008.
Appearing for the announcement at Embraer’s display stand along with Embraer CEO Mauricio Botelho and vice president of executive jets Luis Carlos Affonso, Santo said he plans to place airplanes in the Northeast, first at New Jersey’s Caldwell Airport and later at such airports as Bedford, Mass., outside Boston. Plans call for Avantair to begin flying Piaggio Avantis for its fractional ownership clients from Caldwell by the end of this year.
Worth some $57 million at list prices, the deal raises Embraer’s Phenom firm order total to more than 300. Powered by a pair of Pratt & Whitney Canada PW617F turbofans, the Phenom 100 will fly as far as 1,320 nm with four occupants on board at a top speed of Mach 0.70 and a service ceiling of 41,000 feet.
Earlier this month, Ardent Acquisition Corp. announced its plans to acquire privately held Avantair, founded four years ago as the exclusive North American fractional provider of Avanti. Now managing the world’s largest fleet of Avantis, Avantair has become the world’s fifth largest fractional ownership company. The company also operates an FBO in Clearwater and plans to open another by the end of the year in Camarillo, Calif.
Ardent plans to retain Avantair’s present management team and its original investors. Also on hand here yesterday for the order announcement, Ardent CEO Barry Gordon will become Avantair’s non-executive chairman of the board. o