Embraer's Executive Jets division is hoping to get the green light this year from the company board to launch development of its mid-size and mid-light business jets.

The Brazilian airframer, which launched the concepts in September last year, says it has not set a target date for board approval, "but this is a good time to launch as we have scaled down development of the ERJ 170 and 190 series [of commercial aircraft] and we have the capacity to focus on these new business jets", it says.

Embraer says the mid-size jet, temporarily dubbed the MSJ, will be developed first. "We are planning a five-year development cycle so if launched this year we expect the MSJ to enter service in 2013," says Embraer vice-president executive aviation Luis Carlos Affonso. The mid-light MLJ will be probably be launched a year later, he says.

He says Embraer has taken a "considerable" number of letters of interest from customers who have placed refundable deposits of $70,000 for the MLJ and $90,000 for the MSJ to secure a delivery position.

"We are testing the market," Affonso adds. "We have carried out focus groups with existing and potential customers who have welcomed the design, speed fuel economy and size [of both models]. The main criticism has centred on the interior, "so we have gone back to the drawing board to address these concerns", he says.

The MSJ and MLJ will fill a niche in Embraer's product line between the Phenom 300 light jet and the super mid-size Legacy 600. The aircraft will bolster Embraer's business aircraft line-up which also includes the Phenom 100 very light jet and the super-large Lineage 1000 at the top of the range.

Like Embraer's Phenom 100 and 300, the aircraft will share the same fuselage cross section, but Affonso says this pair will have 90% commonality, with the MSJ, being about 1.4m (4.5ft) longer than the MLJ, but having the same wing.

The MSJ is projected to have a range of 5,190km (2,800nm) with eight passengers at a high-speed cruise of Mach 0.8. The MLJ plan calls for a 4,260km range with four passengers.

 © Embraer

Both aircraft will have a flat-floor and a 1.8m stand-up cabin. Affonso says Embraer continues to evaluate engines from Honeywell, Pratt & Whitney and Rolls-Royce and avionics from a number of companies including Honeywell and Rockwell Collins.

Source: Flight International