this quarter expects to receive the all-clear from Chinese authorities to clear the way to start building Legacy 650s in the country.
The agreement to convert the Harbin Embraer Aircraft Industry Co. facility from building ERJ145s – all of which have been delivered - to Legacy 650s has been long in the making, but Ernest Edwards, president of Embraer executive aviation says approval before July is expected.
Embraer expects to deliver the first aircraft around 18 months later from the go-ahead for the facility run in a joint venture with Avic. The facility will only support deliveries to Chinese customers. Sales have been hampered by the lack of an agreement, Edwards says, hopeful that the green light from Beijing will unlock new activities.
The Chinese approval is only one of several looming milestones for Embraer’s business aviation portfolio. First flight of the Legacy 500, for instance, is due in the third quarter. Although the Brazilian aircraft maker does not say how many commitments it has booked for the type, the first flight milestone will be a key litmus test because additional customer deposits are then due. That should signal how strong the demand for the product really is.
The company this year also plans to inaugurate its new manufacturing facility in Evora, Portugal, where it will build Legacy 500 and Legacy 450 parts for use at its Sao Jose dos Campos final assembly site in Brazil.