Embraer Says Deliveries Holding Up, But Bizjet Sales Taking Hit

Embraer’s enhanced Phenom 300E light jet was certified in late March.
Credit: Embraer

Customers are still taking delivery of the business jets they have ordered, but new sales have been impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic and willb take time to recover, according to the head of Brazilian manufacturer Embraer’s private jet business.

“As of right now every single customer in our book is taking their plane. Sales activity, however, that’s a different story,” Michael Amalfitano, president and CEO of Embraer Executive Jets said on an April 21 webinar organized by the International Aircraft Dealers Association.

“We’ve talked to every single retail customer, and all of our fleet customers, and every single retail customer is taking their plane,” he said. 

As for new sales, “that’s going to take a longer period, maybe a U-shaped or even an L-shaped [recovery],” Amalfitano said. “That might look more like 18-24 months to get back on the pace that we had been up to.”

The Embraer executive noted it is possible that business aviation could see some benefit from the novel coronavirus crisis. “You might find some upside, because people could come to business aviation before they go back and get on a large commercial jet that has 100-150 passengers on it,” he said.

“Maybe they’re going to choose to make that decision to buy a jet card or a fractional [share] or go from a membership program to a whole ownership program. So you might see some upside, but that’s anecdotal at best right now,” Amalfitano said.

“So you have to look at the things that are more systemic, and that’s going to be the strength of the dollar, the strength of oil prices, the strength of the U.S. economy and the strength of the stock market that allows for the recovery of the financial sector and the economic sectors so that the businesses that allow themselves to buy airplanes can feel good about that decision,” he said.

But the most important concern for the industry at the moment “is recognizing that your top priority is protecting your employees,” Amalfitano said. “All of our people are our first priority. We have to keep them safe in terms of the workplace conditions. 

“Whether they’re working from home or on site, that is number one,” said. “And the second is what you can do to help, and we’re doing a lot in regard to helping out our employees and the industry.” 

Graham Warwick

Graham leads Aviation Week's coverage of technology, focusing on engineering and technology across the aerospace industry, with a special focus on identifying technologies of strategic importance to aviation, aerospace and defense.