Chinese prime minister Wen Jiabao announced at the Rio+20 conference in Rio de Janeiro on Thursday that his country’s Aviation Industry Corporation of China (Avic) has signed an agreement to build Embraer Legacy 650 executive jets in Harbin, China, for only Chinese customers. The project will use the infrastructure, financial resources and workforce of their joint venture, Harbin Embraer Aircraft Industry, which began operations in 2002 building Embraer ERJ145 regional jets.
Harbin Embraer announced simultaneously at Rio+20 firm orders for five Legacy 650s and options for five more, with deliveries to begin at the end of next year. Already in hand are several orders for the Legacy 650 from other Chinese customers, including one for 13 aircraft from Minsheng Financial Leasing. As of December 31, Embraer held firm orders and options for 22 business jets from Chinese customers, and to date five have been delivered in, but not manufactured in, China.
The Legacies will be built at the same facility that had been producing ERJ145 regional jets for the Chinese market. Regional-airliner production ended there last year but Embraer says that with minimal adjustments the same tooling can be used to build the Legacy 650, which is derived from the ERJ135.