Embraer months from deciding fate of Chinese plant

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Brazilian airframer Embraer says it will decide by August whether or not to shutter its Chinese plant Harbin Embraer.

At present, the Harbin Embraer joint venture assembles ERJ-145 regional jets. With the last ERJ-145 slated to be delivered to Hainan Airlines in the first half of 2011, Embraer would like to bring E-190 work to Harbin Embraer.

"It is possible to assemble the E-190 there. We want to keep the plant open as we see a huge market in China," Embraer executive vice-president new programmes Mauro Kern recently told ATI sister publication Flight International.





However, Embraer says it faces difficulty in securing the requisite licenses from the Chinese government. A decision on Harbin Embraer will be taken by August, an Embraer spokeswoman confirms today.

Embraer in December 2002 firmed up a joint venture agreement with China's Harbin Aircraft Industry and Hafei Aviation Industry covering license-production of ERJ-135/140/145 regional jet aircraft in Harbin, China. Demand for small-sized regional jets has since dried up.

Chinese firm Comac is developing the ARJ21, which will compete with Embraer's E-Jets. However, Embraer believes that the demand is big enough for the two companies to co-exist.