Having delayed its launch for the third time (most recently to December), Ireland-based would-be air-taxi operator JetBird is now publicly no more specific in its planning than to say it will start operations this year. The first aircraft were to have been delivered in September but delays then were attributed to production problems at Embraer.
Embraer Phenom 100
While other business aircraft manufacturers struggled last year, Embraer more than tripled its production output of executive jets. Thanks to the ramp-up in deliveries of its new Phenom line, the Brazilian aircraft company delivered 115 business jets last year, up from the 36 it shipped in 2008. Broken down by model, Embraer delivered 93 Phenom 100s, one Phenom 300, 18 Legacy 600s and three Lineage 1000s last year.
JetBird, the Ireland-based would-be air-taxi operator that had hoped to be flying Embraer Phenoms already, says it is now planning to launch operations sometime this year, but news from other quarters suggests obstacles that might go beyond a mere delay.
Brazilian OEM Embraer launched 2010 by announcing the first deliveries of two of its new aircraft, the Phenom 300 and Lineage 1000. The first Phenom 300, a seven-passenger light jet, was delivered from Embraer’s São Jose dos Campos facilities on December 29 to Executive Flight Services of Kansas City, Mo.
Embraer last month received type certification for its Phenom 300 from both Brazil’s civil aviation authority, Agência Nacional de Aviação Civil (ANAC), and the FAA. It also received production certification for the type from ANAC. The type approval is for VFR and IFR operations, as well as flight into known icing conditions, according to the São José dos Campos, Brazil-based aircraft manufacturer.
The UK’s Oxford Airport has been granted customs-designated status, allowing it to be used as a point of entry for operators importing aircraft into the European Union. The new designation was first used for the recent delivery of a second Embraer Phenom 100 very light jet to new air taxi firm FlairJet, which is based at the airport.
Late yesterday, Embraer simultaneously received the type and production certificates for its Phenom 300 from Brazil’s civil aviation authority, Agência Nacional de Aviação Civil (ANAC). The type approval is for both VFR and IFR operations, as well as flight into known icing conditions. FAA type approval is expected “in the coming weeks,” the São José dos Campos, Brazil-based aircraft manufacturer said.
Europe’s JetBird has once again delayed the launch of its air-taxi network, this time on the grounds that it needs to raise fresh capital to support the new operation using Embraer Phenom 100 very light jets. It had been due to start flights from a base in Cologne, Germany, in September and said that initial delivery delays were caused by production hold-ups at Embraer and associated capacity shortages in the pilot training process.
For Europe, the so-called very light jet (VLJ) revolution has turned out to be more a case of evolution in which only the most financially fit seem destined to survive.
The third-quarter airplane shipment numbers released last month by the General Aviation Manufacturers Association (GAMA) starkly demonstrate the effect the economic downturn has had on the OEMs so far this year, following last year’s record deliveries.