Brazilian airframer reveals concepts that will fill gap between Phenom 300 light jet and super mid-size Legacy 600
Eager to expand its executive jet offerings, Embraer is unveiling two new concept jets - a mid-size and mid-light - in a bid to fill the product gap between the Phenom 300 light jet and the Legacy 600 super mid-size.
The new twinjets are meant to compete in price with the popular eight- to nine-passenger business jets while offering performance and amenities one step above the direct competitors in terms of cost. The Brazilian airframer has been successful with the same formula on other jets, most recently with its Phenoms. "The Phenom 100 is slightly more expensive than the Cessna Mustang, but it delivers the value of a Cessna CJ1," says Luis Carlos Affonso, executive vice-president for executive aviation.
Competitors for the proposed mid-light entrant include the Bombardier Learjet 45XR, Cessna Citation XLS and Hawker 750, aircraft in the $11.5-12 million price range. For the mid-size sector, Embraer will face the likes of the Bombardier Learjet 60XR, Cessna Sovereign, Gulfstream G150 and Hawker 900XP, aircraft that cost between $13 million and $16 million.
Affonso says the two new aircraft will be members of a "family", with the mid-light aircraft being a smaller version of the mid-size model. The concept is markedly different than what was done for the Phenoms - both are clean-sheet designs - but similar to what Hawker Beechcraft has done with the Hawker 750 and 900XP models, the offspring of the venerable Hawker 800 line.
Depending on the reaction at the National Business Aviation Association's annual show in Atlanta, where Embraer has a cabin mock-up of the mid-size version, officials will seek Embraer board of directors approval to move forward with the project. "If we launch, we will launch both," says Affonso. If the programme advances, Affonso says first deliveries could come as soon as 2012. The company has not revealed prices for the two aircraft.
The mid-light version, which Affonso says would most appropriately take the Phenom name, will have a 1.8m (6ft) cabin height and a 4,074km (2,200nm) range with eight passengers on board flying at M0.78. The mid-size, which would take on the Legacy title, will have a 5,180km range with eight passengers at M0.8, offering coast-to-coast capability 99% of the time for US operators, says Affonso.
Officials are meeting engine manufacturers, avionics providers and other vendors. Embraer says it has not yet decided whether to take on risk-sharing partners in the programme. The only vendor signed so far is BMW DesignWorksUSA, which Embraer previously selected to design the cockpit and cabin interior concepts for the Phenom jets.
Affonso says it is likely Embraer will outsource major components of the new design, following the model put in place for the Legacy 600, which has its wings built by Gamesa in Spain and fin and tailplane assemblies built by Enaer in Chile.