EBACE: Embraer looks far ahead to long-range jet

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Embraer has narrowed a long-term vision first revealed seven months ago to focus on filling a single gap in its business aviation product line-up.

The Brazilian manufacturer now lists the "ultra-long-range" segment as the single gap within its relentlessly expanding product portfolio, said Ernest Edwards, vice-president of Embraer executive aircraft.

By invoking the long-range jet category, Edwards described perhaps the fastest-growing segment of the business aviation market, with the Bombardier Global Express XRS, Dassault Falcon 7X and Gulfstream G650 and G550 already entrenched as potential competitors.

But Embraer seems in no rush to reveal the timing or the product it has in mind.

"Today is probably not the time to launch a new aircraft in that category," Edwards said.

Edwards spoke roughly seven months after Frederico Curado, Embraer chief executive, told Flightglobal at the National Business Aviation Association convention that there were two gaps in the company's business aircraft portfolio.

In addition to the ultra-long-range segment, Curado also listed the "very-large-cabin" slice of the market at the NBAA show. That appears to be a reference to the category now dominated by the likes of the Challenger 850, Falcon 900 LX and G450 and G500. However, Edwards clarified yesterday that only the ultra-long-range segment remains in the company's long-range vision for the business aircraft sector.

In the past five years, Embraer has rapidly grown into a business aviation force, with the Phenom 100 and 300 series already dominating the entry-level and light business jet markets. Meanwhile, the company is close to introducing the clean-sheet Embraer 450 and 500 in the super-light and midsize categories, respectively.

Embraer is currently manufacturing the first and second prototypes during the detailed design and certification phase, with first flight still on tract for the second half of this year, said Claudio Camelier, vice-president of marketing for Embraer executive jets.