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Embraer still going strongEmbraer still going strong

Embraer jetWhile the rest of the world’s aviation manufacturers are feeling the sting of the economic downturn, Embraer seems to be doing comparatively well. Embraer says it now has 850 firm orders, representing 44 nations, for its new Phenom 100 and 300 light jets. That’s up from a claim of 800 orders two months ago. More than 500 orders are for Phenom 100s; more than 300 are for its bigger brother, the Phenom 300.

In 2009, Embraer said it expected to deliver 110 Phenoms. That number is down from an earlier projection of some 120 to 150 Phenom deliveries for the same year. Some orders have been canceled, an Embraer spokesman said, and there’s been a brisk business in the swapping of earlier delivery positions for later ones. Of all Phenom customers, 70 are located in Brazil, and another 100 are in the rest of South America.

At last year’s European Business Aviation Convention and Exhibition (EBACE) convention in Geneva, the company garnered 100 letters of intent to purchase its in-development Legacy 450 and Legacy 500 business jets.

Part of Embraer’s success lies in its diversification. Its E170 and E190 series of airliners will account for some 125 additional deliveries in 2009, as will a batch of 50 deliveries of its ERJ145 airliners to China’s Harbin Airlines.

One sign of Embraer’s health is the daily exodus and influx of the 14,000 employees at the company’s Sao Jose dos Campos manufacturing plant. Embraer still works two shifts.

Thomas A. Horne

Thomas A. Horne

AOPA Pilot Editor at Large
AOPA Pilot Editor at Large Tom Horne has worked at AOPA since the early 1980s. He began flying in 1975 and has an airline transport pilot and flight instructor certificates. He’s flown everything from ultralights to Gulfstreams and ferried numerous piston airplanes across the Atlantic.

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