When Embraer announced the formation of Embraer Executive Jets and the launch of its Phenom 100 very light jet and Phenom 300 light jet programs, there were at least a half-dozen competing programs already in various stages of development. Today, only two very light jets from that group–Cessna’s Citation Mustang and the Eclipse 500 from Eclipse Aviation–are in service. The Phenom 100 is expected to join them in the coming weeks.
Embraer Phenom 100
This year has seen some significant changes in the very light jet (VLJ) category, with two manufacturers going bankrupt and another facing serious financial challenges.
Aviation Technology Group was the first of the modern crop of very light jet manufacturers to fold, having filed for liquidation (Chapter 7 bankruptcy) in May.
British air-taxi operator start-up FlairJet last month announced plans to start operations next May with a pair of Embraer Phenom 100s. It will lease the very light jets from an undisclosed Embraer customer in Europe that has 10 Phenom 100s on order. FlairJet has placed an order for one Phenom 100, which is scheduled for delivery in 2012. The company also has an option for another.
European very light jet air-taxi start-up JetBird has raised an additional €10 million ($14.2 million) in launch capital by selling a 9.3-percent stake to an undisclosed Saudi Arabian family business.
European very light jet air-taxi start-up JetBird has raised an additional $14.2 million (€10 million) in launch capital by selling a 9.3-percent stake to an undisclosed Saudi Arabian family business.
According to Brazilian aircraft manufacturer Embraer, certification of its Phenom 100 very light jet is expected next month, “hopefully” in time for a formal ceremony at the NBAA Convention, to be held October 6 to 8 in Orlando, Fla. What little work that remains includes paperwork validating the software that controls the Eaton flap actuators and certification of seats from new suppliers.
British air-taxi operator startup FlairJet yesterday announced plans to enter service next May with a pair of Embraer Phenom 100s. It will lease the very light jets from an undisclosed Embraer customer in Europe that has 10 Phenom 100s on order. FlairJet has placed an order for one Phenom 100, as well as an option for another, and is due to receive this airplane in 2012. It has an option to lease further Phenom 100s beginning in 2010.
Valencia, Spain-based Wondair on Demand Aviation has launched a fractional ownership, jet card and corporate shuttle program. The company operates in the Iberian Peninsula, Southern Europe and North Africa, with three Cessna CJ1s and one Cessna Citation Ultra. Deliveries of 36 Embraer Phenom 100s and 300s are expected to begin next year. The operator has offered block charter and aircraft management services since 1990.
A new jet ownership and charter business called JetSuite is preparing to take delivery of its first Phenom 100 next April and has unveiled details about its business model.
Embraer’s second Phenom 300 joined the flight-test program just a few days before making its first public show appearance at LABACE. The airplane made its first flight at the Brazilian manufacturer’s Gavião Peixoto facility. The third and fourth flight-test articles are in the assembly and pre-assembly stages. Certification is expected late next year, with deliveries to begin shortly thereafter.