Embraer has identified air-taxi services as the key for its plan to introduce Phenom 100 very-light and Phenom 300 light jets into the Middle East market, says Colin Steven, newly hired vice-president for Europe, Africa and the Middle East.

The key to launching sales in this region is to tap into the VIP-shuttle market on the lucrative business route from Riyadh to Jeddah.

With the Phenom 100’s $400/h operating costs, the aircraft should be ideal for air-taxi operators seeking to capitalise on the route’s high-frequency traffic, says Steven.

Embraer is focusing on the Phenom-series VLJ coming into service in mid-2008 to raise its profile dramatically. So far, Embraer has delivered three Legacy business jets in the region and has orders for two more, says Steven. That number is poised to expand as overall business jet sales are forecast to grow over the next several years.

Source: Flight International