Embraer To Assemble Bulk of Legacy 450/500s in Florida

 - April 24, 2017, 12:01 PM
The first Legacy 500 to be assembled at Embraer Executive Jets' Melbourne, Florida facility is expected to be completed and delivered later this year. A second 500 started rolling on the assembly line late last week. (Photo: Chad Trautvetter/AIN)

Embraer Executive Jets plans to eventually assemble most Legacy 450s and 500s at its Melbourne, Florida facility, though there is no timetable yet for this transition, company president and CEO Michael Amalfitano told AIN last week. The company announced in 2015 that it would assemble all Phenoms at the Florida plant, and this took effect on July 1 last year.

"We are ramping up production for the Legacy 450 and 500 in Melbourne, and this facility will represent a higher portion of total deliveries of those aircraft," added ‎Embraer Executive Jets senior vice president of marketing Luciano Froes. "We will continue to reassess the final assembly split, based on market conditions and as demand evolves, much like we did for the Phenom operation."

For now, the bulk of the midsize Legacys are being assembled at Embraer’s São José dos Campos, Brazil headquarters, as the Melbourne facility continues to ramp up production. The company expanded its Melbourne final assembly center last year to make room for Legacy 450/500 production, but the ramp-up of these midsize jets has intentionally been slow and methodical, said Embraer Executive Jets managing director and COO Phil Krull.

The expansion in Melbourne more than doubled the size of the assembly facility to 124,600 sq m (149,000 sq ft). There are three other main elements to this expansion project: a new 29,260-sq-m (35,000-sq-ft) paint facility that can accommodate the Legacy 450/500, a 25,920-sq-m (31,000-sq-ft) completion center/flight-prep building and a new dedicated delivery center for the midsize Legacy jets. The completion center/flight prep building, which is attached to the final assembly facility, was finished last year. The Legacy 450/500 paint hangar, which is provisioned for a robotic paint sprayer, and delivery center opened earlier this year.

Since the Melbourne expansion was completed last May, two Legacy 450s have come off of the line and two Legacy 500s are currently being assembled. The second of those 450s is due to be delivered next month, with the first Florida-assembled Legacy 500 set to be delivered later this year.

Meanwhile, Phenoms are rolling off the Melbourne line at a rate of about one every four business days (the plant runs two shifts per day Monday through Friday). By next month, that tempo is expected to accelerate to one every three business days, said Krull. More than 230 Phenoms have been assembled at the Florida plant thus far.

At the current work-week schedule, the facility is able to assemble up to 96 Phenoms and 72 Legacys annually. To date, Embraer has delivered 15 Legacy 450s and forty-five 500s, as well as more than 730 Phenoms.