The People’s Republic of China government has done much to make China more “executive aviation friendly,” according to Embraer Executive Jets. But obstacles remain to business aviation growth, said the Brazilian manufacturer.
China’s aviation infrastructure is one obstacle. As of last year, there were 193 airports open for civil use. But airlines receive priority in controlled airspace. There is a shortage of professional staff and pilots to meet the needs of the business aviation market. The country’s high import tax restricts the introduction of more business jets. “To circumvent these challenges, we work in close collaboration with customers and regulatory authorities, as well as market leaders in training, to ensure a smooth entry into service,” Embraer said in response to an AIN query.
Since Embraer delivered its first executive jet to the greater China region in 2004, it has booked 35 firm orders and five options. The manufacturer has delivered 21 of those business jets: 11 large-cabin Legacy 650s, six ultra-large Lineage 1000s, three super-midsize Legacy 600s and one Phenom 300 light jet. Embraer said its flagship Lineage 1000 represents 15 percent of China’s ultra-large jet fleet. The Legacy 650 meanwhile holds about 10 percent market share in the large jet category.
At the Singapore Airshow in February, Embraer predicted that China would account for 805 (more than half) of the 1,530 business jet sales forecast for the Asia Pacific region through 2023. For the first time in Asia, it exhibited the new Lineage 1000E version of its largest jet, with extended range to 4,600 nm, an enhanced interior with Honeywell Ovation Select cabin management system, new cockpit options and a new external look.
Last August, the first Legacy 650 built in China completed its maiden flight. Harbin Embraer Aircraft Industry, the joint venture between Embraer and Aviation Industry Corporation of China, assembled the jet, which was delivered to a customer in January, Embraer has said. All Legacy 650s assembled in Harbin will be delivered to customers in China. The Harbin factory used to build ERJ 145 regional jets; its conversion to the Legacy 650 was announced in2012.
Embraer expressed confidence that China’s business aviation segment will continue to grow. “New airports are being built, and the government continues to make investments in the integration of general aviation with commercial aviation, which will expedite the viability of aircraft ownership, and the efficiency of flight operations. We believe this progress will result in a broader market adoption of business jets,” the manufacturer said.