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Thu, May 05, 2005

It's For Real: Embraer Takes Wraps Off VLJ and LJ

Embraer has finally started talking, publicly, about strengthening its position in the business aviation market with new products and services -- including the first concrete details about their much-rumored VLJ. This represents their first move to expand its product portfolio is to complement the Legacy offering with jets for the Very Light and Light categories.

Recently created, the Very Light Jet category is made up of aircraft that carry 6 to 8 people or up to 10,000 pounds. The Light segment, already established, is comprised of jets that commonly transport up to 8 or 9 people.

The Company will offer a complete range of integrated service solutions that will support the product portfolio expansion. In the near future, Embraer will unveil these solutions that range from sales to full-scale customer support.

“The Legacy has paved the way for Embraer to build a name in the business aviation market. This has been an enriching experience from which valuable lessons were learned. The accrued knowledge will shape our entrance into the Very Light, Entry and Light Jet segments, keeping Embraer at the forefront of product development and innovation,” said Maurício Botelho, Embraer President and CEO.

Introduction of Embraer in the Very Light and Light categories was approved by Embraer’s Board of Directors in April. The investment in the new jets will total US$ 235 million. This program will be funded by the partners, financial institutions and the Company’s own cash generation. Based upon in-depth market assessments, Embraer
has estimated demand for approximately 3,000 Very Light, Entry and Light jets over the next decade.

This figure does not include the air taxi market. “Embraer is committed to making long-term investments in this business to offer revolutionary products and completely integrated solutions to a sophisticated customer base. Our goal is to build a robust business aviation unit and a global infrastructure to support it,” said Luís Carlos Affonso, Senior Vice-President for the Corporate Aviation Market.

The Very Light and Light Jets will be best-in-class. Premium comfort, outstanding performance and low operating cost are key design drivers for these jets. They will be designed for high utilization and high availability. The pilot-friendly cockpit and the docile flying qualities of the two new aircraft will enable single-pilot operation and an easy transition for less experienced pilots.

Embraer’s Very Light Jet (below) will carry up to eight people and be powered by Pratt & Whitney Canada’s PW617F engine, with 1,615 pounds of thrust. Its range will be 1,160 nautical miles (NBAA IFR reserves with 100 nm alternate) with four people onboard and it will have a maximum operating speed of Mach 0.7. The airplane is designed for a
short takeoff distance and is capable of flying at 41,000 feet.

The Very Light Jet is expected to enter service in mid-2008 and will be priced at $2.75 million in 2005 economic conditions. The Light Jet will be powered by P&WC’s PW535E engine, with 3,200 pounds of thrust. Comfortably accommodating up to nine people, the Light Jet’s range will be 1,800 nautical miles (NBAA IFR reserves with 100 nm alternate) with six people onboard, and it will have a maximum operating speed of Mach 0.78. The airplane is also designed for a short takeoff distance and is capable of flying at 45,000 feet. The Light Jet is expected to enter service in mid-2009 and be priced at US$ 6.65 million in 2005 economic conditions.

FMI: www.embraer.com

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