Embraer recorded a 7% fall in business jet output in 2017 as a result of continued weakness across the sector, but says the deliveries were “within outlook ranges for the year”.
The Brazilian airframer shipped 109 aircraft in the 12 months ended 31 December, comprising 72 light and 37 large jets, against a total of 117 the previous year, comprising 73 light and 44 large jets.
A backloaded delivery profile resulted in a surge in fourth quarter deliveries, with Embraer handing over 50 business jets between October and December – more than twice the total for each of the previous quarters, and seven more units than for the final three months of 2016.
Analysis of the manufacturer’s delivery figures shows that its top performer last year was the Phenom 100, with a total of 18 shipments. Entry into service in April of the upgraded EV variant – featuring a Garmin G3000 touch-screen flightdeck and higher-thrust Pratt & Whitney Canada PW617F1-E turbofans – has helped to boost the fortunes of the entry-level jet and increased its appeal within the hugely competitive owner-flyer market, which makes up a large share of its customer base.
Embraer will be hoping the wave of upgrades set for introduction across most of its product line this year will help to rekindle sales. The first E-model variant of the Phenom 300 light jet is set to enter service with its unnamed South African launch customer in February. It features a redesigned cabin, restyled and improved seating and a high-end in-flight entertainment system from Lufthansa Technik. Embraer says the initial aircraft, serial number 448, is now being painted at its US facility in Melbourne, Florida “and will then return to the production line for interior completion and flight preparation”.
In March Embraer will begin delivering the first Legacy 450s and 500s with a reduced cabin altitude of 5,800ft – 200ft (60m) lower than their predecessor – when flying at an altitude of 45,000ft. The midsize pair will also feature restyled passenger seats as standard from the second quarter.