Embraer Executive Jets has brought five aircraft to Geneva for the EBACE show as the company continues to expand its business aviation portfolio. The ultra-large Lineage 1000E is making its show debut, sporting a new interior among other enhancements that include options for autoland and an enhanced vision system. While the midsize Legacy 500 made its EBACE debut last year, it is the first time that show-goers can see it with a fully fitted cabin interior.
The Legacy 500 at EBACE is one of four flight-test aircraft that have racked up more than 1,500 hours of testing as the type approaches certification, due for the middle of this year. Embraer Executive Jets president Mario Túlio Pellegrini reported that the function and reliability trials are the last remaining tests to be completed, followed by paperwork. “We are confident we can conclude the certification by mid-year,” he added.
Fly-by-wire flight controls are one of the many innovations being introduced by the Legacy 500. Another is a Rockwell Collins HGS-3500 head-up guidance system that will be a first for this class of aircraft. As well as completing Legacy 500 testing, Embraer is moving towards a mid-2015 entry-into-service date for the smaller Legacy 450. Intended to fill the mid-light category niche, the Legacy 450 first flew on December 28 last year. From 2016 Embraer plans to be assembling Legacy 450/500s in the U.S., where Phenom 100/300 assembly is already undertaken at the company’s plant in Melbourne, Florida.
Embraer (Booth 6615) has also made good progress with its production models. The 300th Phenom 100 was delivered in March as the Phenom family approaches 500 deliveries this summer. During 2013 the Phenom 300 was the most-delivered business jet from any manufacturer, and the type was recently certified to undertake the steep 5.5-degree approach into London City Airport.
Overall Embraer’s executive jet division has been a major success story, and last year it accounted for 27 percent of the company’s business, as compared to just 7 percent in 2005. There are around 760 Embraer executive jets currently operating around the world, including 182 in Europe, the Middle East and Africa, where Embraer has a 25-percent market share. The worldwide fleet comprises more than 20 Lineage 1000s, 230-plus Legacy 600/650s, nearly 200 Phenom 300s and more than 300 Phenom 100s.
Pellegrini is cautiously sanguine about the wider business aviation market. Traffic levels are recovering slowly, particularly in the U.S., and other pointers to an industry revival, such as U.S. corporate profits, are also showing an increase. Embraer believes that the U.S. will play a big part in the speed of recovery of the business aviation sector. The company’s 2014-2023 forecast suggests 4,530 aircraft will be bought in the U.S. alone, with EMEA contributing a further 2,330. China is the next most important market, with 805 sales forecast for the decade. o