Riding the wave created by the success of its 50-seat regional jet program (now on the wane as the regional airlines evolve toward larger aircraft), Brazilian aircraft manufacturer Embraer has set its sights on becoming a major player in the business aviation market to bolster its move into building larger regional airliners (the 170 and 190 lines).
Régional Compagnie Aérienne Européenne
Twilight has fallen unceremoniously on the heyday of the 50-seat regional jet, and Bombardier’s October 28 announcement that it would suspend production of the CRJ200 only underscored that fact. Of course, the recent bankruptcies of Northwest Airlines, Delta Air Lines and Independence Air haven’t helped, but signs of a meltdown came long before any CRJ operators stopped deliveries or started grounding airplanes.
Antonov: An-148–The only aircraft program ever launched in the former Soviet Union without direct public funding continues its march toward CIS AP-25 certification, scheduled for next April.
A chill in the air and an unseasonably hard rain did little to dampen the enthusiasm last month in São José dos Campos, Brazil, as U.S. carrier JetBlue accepted delivery of Embraer’s first 190 twinjet.
The ceremonies in the Embraer hangar opened with an amateur musical video performance by members of the Embraer team responsible for designing and building the 100-passenger airliner.
Never a hotbed of activity for the West’s two regional jet makers, the Middle East market for RJs has long seemed as barren as the Arabian Peninsula’s Empty Quarter. But like the oil riches that lie beneath the desert sands, the need for smaller, more efficient airplanes has finally surfaced with a little coaxing, as Embraer proved in late April.
Two more established OEMs–Embraer and Raytheon Aircraft–confirmed they are looking at introducing aircraft into the light or very light jet market. But they have yet to commit to firm projects as Cessna has with the Citation Mustang.
Embraer, which has sustained a presence in the business aviation market with the Legacy, a corporate version of its ERJ 135 regional jet, last month announced two clean-sheet additions to its business jet portfolio–a light jet and a very light jet (VLJ).
Houston-based Magnum Jet has placed an order for 50 Phenom 100s, with options for another 50 Phenom 100s and/or 300s. The start-up company plans to offer “a turnkey ownership and comprehensive management program for very light jet owners and will operate…air limousine service for regional travel.” Magnum Jet is scheduled to take delivery of its first Phenom 100 in early 2009.
Embraer, a recent but aggressive entrant in business aviation, predicts that manufacturers will sell 9,680 new business jets during the next 10 years, representing an annual growth rate of 4.4 percent over current sales.
Embraer delivered 30 airplanes during this year’s second quarter, matching its output for the first three months but lagging well behind last year’s second-quarter total of 43. Deliveries between April 1 and June 30 included 15 ERJ 145s and 10 Embraer 170 regional jets, three Legacy business jets and two military variants of the 145 and Legacy.