Embraer is extending the range of its Legacy 450 by over 10%. The move is designed to strengthen the Brazilian airframer’s position in the crowded and increasingly competitive superlight and midsize sectors and to exploit the anticipated rebound in these niche segments.

The new Legacy 450 boasts a range of 2,900nm (5,370 km) – 325nm more than the current version. This will enable the aircraft to connect to many more city pairs non-stop, including San Francisco to Hawaii and Abu Dhabi to Cannes, when it enters service as the baseline model in the third quarter of 2016.

Embraer says owners of the current Legacy 450, which is being readied for service entry this quarter, will be offered a retrofit. This involves minor structural changes to the aircraft, such as modifying one wing rib, to accommodate extra fuel volume and updating the aircraft’s software. Embraer is keen to stresses that the range advantage does not compromise the Legacy 450’s other performance numbers or operating costs.

“This is a very competitive environment,” says Embraer Executive Jets chief executive Marco Tulio Pellegrini, describing the market for mid-range business jets.

“We are constantly looking at way to leapfrog the competition and attract new business.”

The Legacy’s 450’s enhanced range greatly exceeds that of its superlight rivals, the Bombardier Learjet 75, and Cessna Citation XLS+, which fly a distance 2,040nm and 2,100nm respectively.

It is now snapping at the heels of the Textron Aviation-owned company’s latest midsize offerings – the Latitude, with a range of 2,850nm and the Sovereign+, with 3,190nm.

The Legacy 450’s improved range is now only 290nm shorter than its larger Legacy 500 stablemate. “Customers are looking for three key features when they buy an aircraft – comfort, performance and range,” Pellegrini adds. “This aircraft has them all.”

He admits that luring customers away from established brands like Learjet and Citation is a challenge for a relative newcomer like Embraer, which launched its Executive Jets division in 2005. “Since then we have brought six business jets to market – all on display at the static park – and have established a solid customer base,” Pellegrini says.

Source: Flight Daily News