Legacy 650 tour stops in New York

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Embraer's Legacy 650 stopped at the US National Business Aviation Association's (NBAA's) regional forum at Teterboro airport outside New York on a world tour of the type earlier this month, as the airframer tries to drum up orders for the long-range business jet version of its venerable Embraer 135 regional jet.

The large business jet, which boasts a range of 3,900nm (7,220km) with four passengers, is priced at about $30 million, according to the Brazilian airframer. It is comparable to a Bombardier Challenger 605, but has greater cabin volume.

Sales of the 650, which is a derivative of the popular Legacy 600, have yet to pick up despite the attractive price tag. Only 22 airframes have been delivered since deliveries began in the fourth quarter of 2010, says Embraer. The airframer attributes this to the type having been launched during the downturn following the 2008 credit crunch.

"We're confident moving forward that things are improving," said Christian Kennedy, regional sales manager at Embraer Executive Jets, during a promotional flight after the NBAA show. He adds that there is latent demand for jets in the class as a result of few new business jets being manufactured during the past few years.

Embraer expects that most of the sales growth for its executive jets will occur in China and the other BRIC (Brazil, Russia, India and China) countries in the years to 2021. The 650 will visit airports in all of these countries, as well as other locations in Europe and the Middle East, as part of the current tour.

The airframer continues to conduct tests on its delayed Legacy 500 business jet while it showcases the 650 around the world. Ground tests of the type have produced "no surprises" and the type is now on track for first flight in the third quarter, says Kennedy.

First flight of the Legacy 400, which has also experienced delays, is set for the second half of 2013.

The 650 was headed to Westchester County airport following the NBAA show at Teterboro. Embraer plans to showcase the type at more than 25 airports around North America before flying overseas.