JetBird, the planned low-cost air charter service, caused quite a stir at the 2006 EBACE exhibition when it ordered 50 of Embraer’s Phenom 100 very light jets and optioned another 50. Speaking exclusively to EBACE Convention News before this year’s show, JetBird managing director Paul Gearney confirmed that the order still stands and that the operator expects to begin flying in April 2009.
Embraer Phenom 100
Brazilian manufacturer Embraer released mixed first-quarter delivery numbers last month. The company delivered 25 aircraft, of which five were business jets.
Embraer technicians were scheduled to begin final assembly of the Phenom 100 very light jet (VLJ) prototype in preparation for the jet’s mid-year first flight as this issue went to press. The jet is being built at Embraer’s Botucatu facility in Brazil, but final assembly will take place at the plant in São José dos Campos.
Watch for Embraer to announce “around NBAA Convention [September] time” one or maybe two new business jets–what it is calling a “mid-light” jet and a “midsize” jet. The new aircraft are aimed at the market segment between the company’s Phenom 300, a light jet scheduled to enter service in 2009, and the super-midsize Legacy 600, of which 100 have been delivered since shipments began in 2000.
Embraer recently selected BMW DesignWorksUSA to design the interior for its planned very light jet (VLJ) and light jet, in addition to disclosing more defined development timelines for the common-platform twinjets. Embraer’s $2.75 million, Pratt & Whitney Canada PW617F-powered VLJ is expected to make its initial flight in the first quarter of 2007.
Brazilian airframer Embraer reported that it delivered 27 executive and corporate shuttle versions of its Legacy 600 last year, more than double the 13 aircraft shipped in 2004 and seven more than delivered in 2005. Legacy 600 deliveries have grown steadily since Embraer handed over the first three aircraft to customers in 2000.
At a ceremony today, Embraer president and CEO Mauricio Botehlo and senior vice president Luis Carlos Affonso pulled the wraps off full-scale mockups of the company’s very light and light jets to reveal their names–the Phenom 100 and 300, respectively. Yesterday, Embraer disclosed it had selected the Garmin G1000 integrated avionics system for the airplanes, both of which will be certified for single-pilot operations.
Cessna, Eclipse and Adam Aircraft are all confident that their respective very light jets will be certified this year. According to Cessna chairman, president and CEO Jack Pelton, the Citation Mustang is on track for FAA approval in the fall, though he hinted that the VLJ could get its papers a little earlier.
Embraer is extending the $2.75 million introductory price to May 31 for the Phenom 100, its offering in the growing very light jet segment. The price of the eight-seat, 1,160-nm (four occupants) Phenom 100 increases to $2.85 million on June 1. First flight is scheduled for the first quarter of next year, with entry into service expected in mid-2008.
Embraer has chosen Stevens Aviation to provide factory-approved maintenance and product support for its new Phenom 100 very light and Phenom 300 light jets. Stevens also provides factory-authorized service for Bombardier, Grob, Piaggio, Raytheon and Sino Swearingen aircraft and is authorized as an FAR 145 repair station to provide service for Citations and other civil aircraft.