Embraer confident of second-half business-jet delivery surge

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Embraer's executive jets division is sticking to its aim of delivering 100 light jets and 18 large jets this year, despite its slow first half and August's global stock-market turmoil.

However, the Brazilian airframer has ruled out launching a new corporate aircraft in the foreseeable future.

In the first six months of 2011, Embraer delivered 26 aircraft from its light-jet range, made up of the Phenom 100 and 300. This represented a drop of 30 from the corresponding figure for 2010's first half. Meanwhile, deliveries of the large executive jets - the Legacy 600 and 650 and Lineage 1000 - rose from three to five.

Embraer Executive Jets president Ernest Edwards has restated a delivery forecast of 74 Phenoms and 13 of the large jets in this year's second half - partly on the basis that US corporate profits have risen above the peak seen in 2007.

"I don't think anybody feels ashamed of using a corporate airplane for their business today. Certainly, they shouldn't feel ashamed, with the kind of results they're bringing in," said Edwards, who has headed the division since May and is based in Fort Lauderdale, Florida.

Commenting on the stock-market tumbles of late August, Edwards said: "When you look at all the fundamentals in the US economy, there is no reason for what happened."

He added: "There's just a little nervousness there about whether this is just a blip or a double dip. All the combined analysis says there's no reason for this, other than that there's been some scaremongering going on."

Edwards dismissed any likelihood of an imminent move to fill the gap between Embraer's large, $30 million Legacy 650 and ultra-large, $50 million Lineage 1000 with a new ultra-long-range type. "As a sales team, my team would love to fill the hole that is there, but engineering are saying, 'Guys, give us a break'," he said. "The engineers are just about maxed out, so they need a break from corporate jets for a while."

Embraer says first flight of its mid-sized, clean-sheet, fly-by-wire Legacy 500 is on course to take place by year-end.

Mating of the second prototype's fuselage sections was achieved in late August, the same task having been executed on the first prototype in July.

The manufacturer, which also has the mid-light Legacy 450 in development, has disclosed that it will offer a "green" version of its Lineage 1000 - without interior furnishings - at a price still to be defined, and that it is working to gain approval for the same type to operate at the UK's London City airport, which requires steep-approach capability.

Over the next 10 years, Embraer foresees a total market for 11,275 new business jets worth a combined $260 billion.