Paris Air Show

Embraer increases production

 - June 18, 2007, 10:10 AM

Embraer is here at Le Bourget exhibiting a 170/175 regional airliner, its super-midsize Legacy 600 executive jet and scale models of its new four-seat Phenom 100 very light jet and nine-passenger Phenom 300 light jet. Production rates and deliveries of its regional jets and Legacy (the 100th twinjet was delivered in March) are picking up following difficulties with suppliers, and activity continues in China. While the market is “huge” for the Phenom range, the world’s fourth-ranking aircraft maker confirms it will bring out new midlight and midsize executive jets but said it is too early to announce the timing.

The Brazilian group, in a bid to overcome production problems, especially for wings, and step up deliveries, has increased its workforce by about 10 percent to 21,000 since the beginning of 2007. A further 2,000 increase is expected soon to ramp up production of the Phenom 100, due to enter service 2008. The world’s leading manufacturer of regional jets up to 120 seats has experienced difficulties with some of its biggest suppliers as well as at its own facility in São José dos Campos. It plans to raise production rates of its E-170/190 jet families from 12 per month now to 14 at the end of this year and 18 a year later.

The group’s firm order backlog stood at a record $15 billion at March 31, up from $14.8 billion three months earlier following increased demand for its regional aircraft, especially from the U.S. and Europe, and its growing range of business jets. Embraer’s firm order backlog for commercial aircraft stands at 454 aircraft comprising 30 E-170s, 70 E-175s, 262 E-190s and 39 E-195s with options for a further 558 E-Jets. The current order book does not include Deutsche Lufthansa’s approval in mid-April to acquire 30 E-190s and options for 50 to replace previous orders by Lufthansa subsidiary Swiss International Air Lines for 15 E-175s and 15 E-195s. Meanwhile the E-190 has completed a 21-week, 135,000-nm demonstration tour visiting 105 airlines in 43 countries.

Embraer also has a backlog for 53 ERJ-145s. The HNA group, China’s fourth largest airline, has ordered 50 copies while China Eastern Wuhan expects the last three of its order for five. Airlines also have options on 132 145s. HNA, which has also ordered 50 E-195s, takes delivery of its first ERJ-145 this September–Embraer’s 1,000th copy of this family of aircraft. In 2008, Harbin Embraer Aircraft Industry Co., the ERJ-145 assembly joint venture between Embraer and Avic II subsidiary Harbin Aircraft, will begin manufacturing parts of the fuselage of the ERJ-145, which now is produced only at Harbin. Chinese-built 145s to date have been delivered only for the Chinese market.

Executive jet sales, especially of the Phenom 100 and Phenom 300 are taking off. “In December 2005 we had orders for 65 Legacy 600s to customers in 15 countries. Orders continue to grow with 20 deliveries in 2005, 27 in 2006 and at least 30 expected this year,” Colin Steven told Aviation International News. The Europe/ Middle East/Africa marketing manager said by March 2007 Embraer had orders for almost 400 Phenom 100/300s, about half of them in Europe and the Middle East. “When we launched the Phenoms in 2005, a two-year wait was seen as too long. Now the wait is four years and the pace of orders continues,” he said. Up to 20 Phenom 100s will be shipped from the fourth quarter of 2008, the first to the U.S. The first Phenom 300 is due to enter service a year later, also with a U.S. client.

Steven said development of the five-cabin, 13- to 19-passenger Executive/VIP Lineage 1000, derived from the E-190, is also on schedule with the first delivery earmarked for the second half of 2008 to a client in the Middle East or Europe. A mockup of the Lineage will be exhibited at NBAA 2007. He confirmed Embrear’s plans for two new business jets, the timing of which will be “dictated by the market.”  The midlight version will be bigger than the Phenom 300 and the midsize smaller than the Legacy 600.