Acknowledging that Flight Options had strayed from its original vision, company founder Kenn Ricci and CEO Michael Silvestro, both of whom returned to the operation in recent months, have announced initiatives designed to “recapture the energy we had” at the beginning.
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.
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 $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.
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.
Embraer’s second Phenom 300 light jet joined the flight-test fleet on Tuesday, making its first flight from the runway at the Brazilian aircraft manufacturer’s Gavião Peixoto plant. Flying aboard PP-XVJ on its maiden jaunt were pilots Jeirgem Prust and John Sevalho Corção and flight-test engineer Leandro Bigarella. “The Phenom 300 program is steadily moving forward.
Central U.S. regional fractional provider Executive AirShare (EAS) last month signed an agreement to acquire 18 Embraer Phenom 100 delivery slots from Clearwater, Fla.-based Avantair, which offers shares in Piaggio Avantis. EAS also has an option to buy Avantair’s two remaining Phenom 100 positions. EAS now has firm orders for 28 Embraer Phenom 100s and four Phenom 300s, with options on 12 more 100s and four more 300s.
Last year at EAA AirVenture Embraer announced the first flight of its Phenom 100 very light jet. While it wasn’t able to announce type certification at this year’s show in Oshkosh, Wis., the Brazilian aircraft manufacturer did say yesterday that the twinjet is nearing the finish line. So far, four flight-test Phenom 100s have logged more than 1,000 flight hours in the certification and maturity campaigns.
Embraer’s plan to increase its business jet portfolio from the 16-seat Legacy 600, its only executive jet in service, to six business jets by 2013 continues apace with the expected delivery of Phenom 100 very light jets and Lineage 1000 bizliners later this year, the company said during a pre-Farnborough Air Show briefing held in Paris.