Embraer to assemble new Legacies in Florida

 - July 31, 2014, 12:45 PM
Jose Eduardo Costas, Embraer Executive Jets senior vice president.

Embraer will begin assembling its new midsize Legacy 450 and 500 business jets at its Melbourne, Fla. campus by 2016, build a major new plant expansion there and add 600 jobs. Company executives announced the moves here at AirVenture on Wednesday. Embraer Executive Jets senior vice president Jose Eduardo Costas added that certification of the fly-by-wire Legacy 500 is “imminent.”

Besides assembling, completing and delivering jets from Melbourne, Embraer plans to install up to 200 engineers at a new technology center there. These are the latest moves by the Brazilian company to establish a substantial presence in the executive jet market. The company recently announced that it had delivered 500 of its Phenom 100 and 300 model light jets and that the Phenom 300 was the top-selling corporate jet in 2013, with 60 delivered last year. Costas said Embraer had 17.6 percent of the corporate jet market in 2013, continuing to close the gap with rival Cessna’s 21-percent market share, and that the Phenom 300 already had achieved 54-percent market share for new jet sales in its category, driven by orders from large fractional share companies.

Costas said the company recently began deliveries of its revised entry-level and large jets, the Phenom 100 and Lineage 1000. Those aircraft are being rebadged with the “E” suffix, which stands for “enhanced,” he said.

The 100E gets new wing spoilers that will lower descent speeds and enhance the aircraft’s lift-dump aerodynamic braking ability on the ground. There are also new choices available for cabin seating and cabinets, as well as interior colors and fabrics. The spoilers will be made available as a retrofit kit for existing 100s for approximately $300,000, Costas said.

The 1000E, based on the company’s successful line of large regional “E” jets, gets an avionics upgrade including autoland and a combined enhanced- and synthetic-vision system, a variety of cabin improvements and a modest range increase, from 4,400 to 4,600 nm (eight passengers).

Costas also revealed that the Legacy 450, scheduled for 2015 certification, had been optimized with a six-inch cabin stretch and a range increase to 2,500 nm.