Dubai Air Show

Embraer stakes its claim on booming Mideast bizjet market

 - November 8, 2007, 2:10 AM

Embraer (Stand E614) has opened a sales office here in Dubai in a bid to gain a larger share of what it views as a booming market for business aircraft in the Middle East. The office currently is housed in Jet Aviation’s facility at Dubai International Airport, but Embraer plans to establish its own premises as business grows.

Eventually, the Brazilian airframer expects to offer a family of six private jets, contingent on its launching the proposed mid-size jet (MSJ) and mid-light jet (MLJ) concepts unveiled at September’s National Business Aviation Association Convention in Atlanta, Georgia. The company’s Legacy 600 has been in service for several years and is joined by the Lineage 1000 large-cabin jet, the Phenom 300 light jet and the Phenom 100 very light jet.

 According to market research prepared in September by Embraer and Amstat, the U.S. statistical group, the Middle East is showing rapid growth in new business jet deliveries: 13 in 2005 and 22 last year. During the same period, according to the report, manufacturers delivered 19 business jets to countries in South Asia–12 in 2005 and seven in 2006. North African customers took delivery of two new jets in each of those years.

The analysis forecasts more than 300 new business jet deliveries to the Middle East between 2008 and 2017, with almost 40 percent of them expected to be large
to ultra-large aircraft. “Due to high-end concentration, business jet deliveries to the Middle East may represent $7.7 billion in the next ten years,” said Colin Steven, Embraer’s vice president of sales and marketing for Europe, the Middle East and Africa. “The Middle East is a thriving business jet market with a concentration of jets in the high-end categories. GDP growth has been 5.1 percent over the last five years and is expected to be the same in the next five-year period, when the business aviation fleet is expected to double.”

From Embraer’s perspective, both North Africa and South Asia show good potential for replacing turboprop aircraft with jets. Steven sees strong prospects for the Legacy 600 in North Africa and demand for light jets in South Asia, where roughly 20 are currently flying.

The Legacy, which is derived from Embraer’s ERJ 145 regional jet, can carry 16 passengers in three distinct seating areas. With a cruise speed of Mach 0.80, it offers a 3,250-nm range with eight passengers and NBAA IFR reserves, allowing nonstop links between the Middle East and much of Europe, Africa and Asia.

According to Embraer, the aircraft’s 240-cu-ft, cabin-accessible baggage compartment is one of the largest in the industry. The Corporate Shuttle version of the Legacy accommodates 16 to 19 passengers in business class, and the Shuttle HC version comfortably seats up to 37 passengers.

“The Legacy 600 continues to sell and we expect to reach 25 to 30 sales worldwide by the end of 2007, divided more or less equally between the U.S. and the area covering Europe, Africa and the Middle East,” said Steven. Nine Legacys are based in the Middle East: three in the United Arab Emirates, two in Kuwait and one each in Saudi Arabia, Jordan, Lebanon and Bahrain. According to Steven, the aircraft is well suited to local operating conditions, where temperatures soar as high as 122-deg F. Five more Legacys are flying for the Indian government.

The Lineage 1000–a VIP version of the 190 E-Jet–offers Dubai-to-London nonstop range and is being marketed as an affordable alternative to the Boeing Business Jet and Airbus Corporate Jetliner. According to Steven, the Lineage’s order book stands at 10, with most of clients being in the Middle East, and the first delivery will be made during the second half of next year.

Meanwhile, the company plans to begin initial deliveries of the four-passenger Phenom 100 in the middle of next year, the same time frame earmarked for the first flight of its eight-passenger sibling, the Phenom 300. Embraer expects to deliver 15 to 20 Phenom 100s worldwide next year and a combined total of 150 of both the 100 and 300 in 2009.

The manufacturer is reporting a total of 400 orders for Phenom 100s and 300s, about half of which are from Middle Eastern clients.

According to Steven, the Middle East market has also expressed interest in the MSJ and MLJ concepts. The MSJ is projected to fly 2,800 nm at Mach 0.80– allowing, for example, a flight from Riyadh to Paris with eight passengers, while the smaller MLJ with a range of 2,300 nm can carry four passengers from Riyadh to Moscow.