Embraer is maintaining it is on track to meet full-year delivery targets for the Phenom 100 and 300 despite a slow first quarter.
The Brazilian manufacturer delivered only 16 Phenom 100s and one Phenom 300 in the first three months of 2010. But Embraer Executive Jets vice-president sales and marketing for North America Ernest Edwards says Embraer is on track to meet its 2010 Phenom family delivery target of 120 aircraft.
"I don't anticipate problems meeting the delivery objectives for this year," he says.
Edwards says the delivery figure for the first three months of this year may seem small because the factory was emptied in December with 42 Phenom 100 deliveries in one month. He says Embraer expects to make up the relatively slow first quarter with a higher rate of deliveries the rest of the year.
He adds that while financing issues led to several delivery delays in 2009, resulting in the unusually high figure for December, "today we don't see financing as an issue".
Embraer delivered 97 Phenom 100s in 2009, falling more than 10 aircraft short of its target. Edwards says there are no more production issues, which affected Phenom 100 output in the first half of 2009, and the line is now at full speed. "The Phenom 100 production line is flowing well now," he says.
After delivering its first Phenom 300 at the end of December and a second aircraft in January, the Brazilian airframer did not deliver a single Phenom 300 in February or March. But Edwards says deliveries are set to resume by the end of April and the two-month gap in customer deliveries was driven by Embraer's decision to make small modifications to the aircraft.
"We're trying to get the quality right before delivery," he says.
He adds that Embraer had preferred to modify the first two production aircraft before delivery, but the customers required the aircraft in December and January, respectively. As a result these ended up being delivered significantly earlier than the third aircraft, which was modified before delivery.
While Embraer delivered only one Phenom 300 in the first quarter, Edwards points out that a second aircraft was completed and is being used as a company-owned demonstrator. The demonstrator is in Europe in the lead-up to EBACE and is scheduled to tour the USA in May.
While there are only two Phenom 300s in service, there are now over 120 Phenom 100s operating. Edwards says the Phenom 100 fleet has already accumulated more than 10,000 flights.
While Embraer has more than 600 firm orders for the Phenom family, Edwards says there are some available delivery slots this year. He says for the Phenom 300 there are "couple of slots" in December that were created when Embraer decided in November to marginally increase Phenom 300 production for 2010. For the Phenom 100 he says "we have three or four slots" that opened from customer cancellations.
While sales have been slow over the past year, Edwards says there is signs the market is starting to recover, including increased utilisation at charter operators.
"We're beginning to see what we think is a slow recovery," Edwards says. "Slowly the buyers are coming out hibernation. We're hoping they come out of full hibernation and start buying airplanes again."