Jetbird’s assertions of delays notwithstanding, Embraer said late last week that it continues to ramp up production of the Phenom 100, helping the Brazilian business jet manufacturer deliver a total of 54 business jets during the first three quarters. The five-passenger Phenom 100 received FAA certification last December, with two deliveries before the end of last year.
Embraer Phenom 100
Production delays at Embraer’s factory and an associated bottleneck in the pilot training process for its new Phenom 100 light jet have delayed the service launch of air-taxi firm JetBird.
A small group of Embraer Phenom 100 owners came together in Santa Barbara, Calif., on August 29 for the first Phenom owners gathering. Ben Marcus, a partner
in light jet brokerage firm JetAviva, Van Nuys, Calif., helped put the meeting together, which attracted eight owners, who could form the nucleus of a Phenom 100 owners association.
Brazilian aircraft maker Embraer is a relative newcomer to the business aviation market. Five years ago the company was best known for producing many regional jets and its only business airplane was the Legacy, a corporate version of the ERJ 135.
Until around this time last year, European business aviation had been enjoying a boom period, and executive charter in particular had seen some truly explosive growth. It was in the heady years from 2005 to the first half of 2008 that a new generation of air-taxi operator was laying down business plans predicated almost entirely on the quantum leap downward in operating costs offered by the new wave of very light jets (VLJs).
Following several months of reported production slowdowns, staff layoffs and furloughs from the major OEMs, general aviation industry deliveries shrank by more than 45 percent during the first half of this year, compared with the first half of last year, according to the General Aviation Manufacturers Association (GAMA). The trade association reported that all segments of the industry experienced double-digit declines.
With certification of Embraer’s Phenom 300 expected before year-end, Flight Options released more details about its fractional ownership program for the aircraft in June.
While the industry cheers small gains, on any given day the bits and pieces of good news (+) have typically been overwhelmed by the bad (-) as the economic crisis and credit crunch continues. Here’s a bit of both.
While economic considerations forced NBAA to cancel its first annual Light Business Aircraft (LBA) show originally scheduled for March this year, the organization is not ignoring the owners and operators of smaller aircraft and will include many of the educational offerings it had originally planned for LBA at the NBAA 62nd Annual Meeting and Convention, October 20 to 22, in Orlando.
“Only in 2012 will [business jet] deliveries start growing again,” Embraer executive vice president Luis Carlos Affonso said in a pre-LABACE press briefing. He expects 2010 and 2011 will be “difficult years” for the business aviation industry, but noted that there are already signs that the industry is starting to recover. He said the company will meet Phenom delivery goals, if it can build the airplanes fast enough.