Embraer saw business jet deliveries fall slightly in 2016, to 117 aircraft from 120 the previous year, as a result of prolonged and persistent weakness across the sector.
The Brazilian airframer had shipped 74 executive aircraft – 48 light jets and 26 large jets – during the first three quarters of the year, but a backloaded delivery profile saw a further 43 units (25 light and 18 large) handed over in the final three months of 2016.
Analysis of the manufacturer’s quarterly delivery figures shows that its outstanding performer last year was the Phenom 300, with a total of 63 shipments, followed by the Legacy 500 (21) and Legacy 450 (12), the latter including the first units built at Embraer’s US facility in Melbourne, Florida.
More worrying, however, were the figures for the Phenom 100E – the lightest business jet in the portfolio: just 10 examples were shipped over course of the year, with none delivered in the final three months.
That marks the first quarter in the programme’s 12-year history in which Embraer has failed to deliver a single aircraft. This is largely due to the sickly owner-flyer market, which makes up a large share of the entry-level type’s customer base.
Embraer hopes that it can rekindle the jet’s appeal with a further update, called the Phenom 100EV, which features a Garmin G3000 touch-screen flightdeck and higher-thrust Pratt Whitney Canada PW617F1-E turbofans.
While the delivery total for 2016 lags the previous year’s figure by three units, Embraer stresses that the total is in line with its annual forecast of “70 to 80 light and 35 to 45 large executive jets”.
It calls 2016 “a year of major challenges in the aviation industry”, citing global economic and political uncertainties as the major obstacles to growth.
“In response to this scenario,” Embraer chief executive Paulo Cesar de Souza e Silva says, the company “is implementing important actions and making adjustments to be well positioned in all business segments it operates.”
He cites as an example its “stronger presence” in the midsize and large-cabin business jet sectors with the Legacy 450, 500 and 650, “which indicates a more balanced [product line] mix”.
The second-generation Legacy 650 is scheduled for delivery this year. The $26 million twinjet, called the 650E, will feature a synthetic vision system and auto throttle as standard, a restyled, three-zone interior with full HD in-flight entertainment, and an “unprecedented” 10-year or 10,000-flight-hour warranty.