Embraer breaks ground on US engineering facility

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Embraer has broken ground on a 67,000ft2 engineering and technology centre in Melbourne, Florida, home to its US Phenom assembly base and executive jet customer service centre.

The facility - scheduled to open in the middle of 2014 - marks a $26 million investment for the Brazilian airframer over the next five years. The building will house laboratories, test equipment, a 3D virtual-reality centre, prototype capabilities and 3D computer-aided design stations that will allow computational fluid dynamics and finite element modelling.

Meanwhile. Embraer's São José dos Campos facility has handed over the 200th Legacy business jet to Minsheng Financial Leasing. The 14-seat Legacy - one of the 13 large-cabin types ordered by the Chinese company around a year ago - will be used by an anonymous Chinese customer. MSFL also has three ultra-large Lineage 1000s on order.

Embraer plans to build Legacy 650s in China from early next year under a joint venture with state-owned China Aviation Industry Corporation. The partnership plans initial production of around six aircraft a year for Chinese customers.

According to Flightglobal's Ascend database, sales of the Legacy business jet family have remained flat over the past couple of years. A dozen Legacy 600 and 650 types were shipped in 2011 and so far ten of the 14-seat aicraft have been handed over, including two company shuttles used by sofware company Intel.