Embraer is breaking into the business jet big league with the launch here at the EBACE show today of the new Lineage 1000 jet derived from its 190 regional airliner. The development of the $40.95 million large-cabin model was approved by the airframer’s board of directors last week on April 25 and the aircraft is expected to enter service during 2008.
The announcement, which has been kept under tight wraps for the last few weeks, confirms Embraer’s serious intention to directly confront business aviation’s established manufacturers. Just a year ago, the Brazilian group shook up the market by announcing the development of the new Phenom 300 and 100 light and very light jets and now is straying further into the territory of its rivals.
At an mtow of 55 tons (121,252 pounds), the Lineage will be slightly heavier than the Embraer 190–closer to the weight of the large 195 model, in fact. The baggage compartment will be positioned above the floor level to make space for additional fuel tanks below. Maximum range will be 4,200 nm, making much of the Middle East and the U.S. attainable from Europe.
In typical corporate configuration, the new jet will seat 13 to 19 passengers in a cabin that can be split into five zones. One option will be to install a full-sized bed, and a shower can be provided too.
The Embraer 190 is slightly longer than the Boeing 737 airframe–from which the rival Boeing Business Jet was derived. However, the Lineage 1000 will not be in the same 6,000-nm range class as the BBJ.
According to Luis Carlos Affonso, Embraer’s senior vice president for executive jets, the manufacturer first considered basing its next business aircraft on the smaller 170 airliner but the requirement for more range drove it to move up to the 190 airframe. However, he told EBACE Convention News that it may yet work on a corporate version of the 170, adding that Embraer has every intention of filling the product gaps between the Lineage 1000, the Legacy 600 (itself based on the ERJ 145 airliner), and the new Phenom 300 and 100 aircraft. Embraer’s management may be ready to commit to these further new aircraft programs by the end of this year.
At the end of March, Embraer completed a corporate restructuring through which it adopted a dispersed capital control mechan-ism that prevents shareholder groups from taking a controlling interest in the company. According to Embraer president Mauricio Botelho, the change will make it easier for the company to raise fresh capital in the open market and this will be used to fund future aircraft developments. Affonso said that the development costs for the Lineage 1000 are relatively modest and the project has not required new money from beyond Embraer’s existing budget.
Before committing to the Lineage, Embraer tested several new designs on the market, both through meetings of its customer advisory board and some 300 interviews with prospective buyers conducted by an independent research firm. Affonso said that demand for the Lineage 1000 will come from a customer base spanning wealthy individuals, government officials, scheduled/branded executive charter operators, and corporate shuttle operations.