Phenom 100 achieves market milestone for Embraer

Embraer Phenom 100 awaits delivery at SJK (São José dos Campos SP, Brazil).

Embraer has never made a secret of its intention to be a major player in the world business jet market by 2015.

Since launching the supermidsize Legacy in 2001, a series of well timed product introductions—covering the spectrum from single-pilot entry-level jet to ultralarge executive transport—has underscored not only how serious the company is about achieving its goal but how carefully it studies movements and trends in the global aviation market.

One demonstration of how well Embraer's approach is paying off for the company is the success of the Phenom 100—the smallest of its executive jet offerings. Embraer predicted last year that this 6 to 8-pax business jet would have 50% of the entry-level jet market by the start of 2011.

Figures released by the company in mid-January show that more Phenom 100s were delivered in 2010 than any other business jet. In the 12 months ending Dec 31, Embraer delivered 100 Phenom 100s—slightly up from the 2009 total of 97 (which included 4 to a military customer). Deliveries of the Phenom 100 commenced following FAA type certification in Dec 2008 and had reached 199 by Dec 31, 2010.

Both the Phenom 100 and the 8 to 9-pax Phenom 300 light jet were launched in 2005. Certification, production ramp-up and delivery schedules for the Phenom 300 were tailored to follow those of the Phenom 100 by around 12 months, and Embraer delivered the first Phenom 300 in Dec 2009, once certification was achieved. Last year—the first full year of production—the company delivered 26 Phenom 300s.

The Phenom 100 was always intended for a higher production rate than the 300. The company describes the planned production ramp-up for both types as "very aggressive." While this phase proceeded slightly slower than envisaged, Embraer was able to meet its combined Phenom 100/300 delivery targets for 2010.

Phenom 100s and 300s are manufactured (including materials), produced and completed at Embraer's GPX (Gavião Peixoto SP, Brazil) plant. Finished aircraft are then flown to the company's aircraft delivery center at SJK (São José dos Campos SP).

The GPX Phenom 100/300 assembly lines will soon be supplemented by a facility in the US. Embraer's selection of MLB (Melbourne FL) as the site for a final assembly, customer design, paint and delivery center for the Phenom 100 and (later) 300 had strategic, financial and logistical motives. (US customers account for some 50% of Phenom 100/300 deliveries.

For Embraer to establish a center close to such an important market makes strat­egic sense. Similarly, lower inventory levels and proximity to suppliers will bring financial and logistical benefits.) When the Florida plant comes on line later this year and the company delivers the first MLB-assembled Phenom 100, Embraer will have moved closer to its goal of becoming a global manufacturer as well as a successful exporter. —Phil Rose


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