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Embraer restarts sales campaigns for Legacy 500, 450

Embraer has restarted sales campaigns for the Legacy 500 and 450 midsize business jets nearly four months after achieving first flight, says chief executive Frederico Curado.

The first two prototypes of the Legacy 500 are now flying and the flight test programme is proceeding more smoothly than expected, Curado said during a teleconference with analysts on fourth quarter earnings results.

"The flight test campaign is going better than we expected," he says. "It is more mature than our previous development [projects]."

A third Legacy 500 prototype is almost ready to enter the flight test programme, he adds.

The Legacy 500 programme was delayed by more than a year due to several technical problems, including the integration of fly-by-wire flight controls. The delay postponed entry into service to roughly mid-2014.

The operational debut of the legacy 500 will be followed one year later by the introduction of the smaller Legacy 450.

Both are aimed at capturing market share in the segment now occupied by the Cessna Citation Sovereign and Gulfstream G150. New products, including the Bombardier Learjet 85 and the Cessna Latitude, are also expected to compete for market share against the Embraer aircraft in a few years.

By resuming sales activity, Embraer is reentering a sputtering market for mid-size business jets that has remained stubbornly below its 2008 peak. That was the year Embraer closed a fleet order worth $134.6 million with Al Jaber Aviation for four Legacy 500s and four Legacy 450s.

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