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Mon, Nov 03, 2008

Aero-TV At NBAA '08: Heavy Discussions... About Very Light Jets (Part 1)

Four Industry Hopefuls Weigh In On State Of Small Jets At NBAA Panel Discussion

The current state of the very-light jet segment -- as well as its uncertain future -- were the subjects of a well-attended forum at last month's NBAA 2008 Convention. Four industry leaders hoping to see their companies profit from the sale of small jets offered their thoughts on the matter, while sweating out an economic forecast that was looking more dour with the hour.

Among the topics discussed were the difficulties in certifying any new aircraft, and in particular VLJs... as well as the overall health of the segment, especially as the global economy appears headed for a pronounced downturn.

The panel was dominated by comments from four players in the controversial VLJ market: Cláudio Galdo Camelier, Vice President of Market Intelligence, Embraer Executive Jets; Jack Braly, CEO of AAI Acquisition; Mike McConnell, newly-named President and GM of the Customer Division of Eclipse Aviation; and Epic Air CEO Rick Schrameck.

Michael McConnell noted that, "The uncertainty that's created with the financial atmosphere in the globe today causes inaction. What's interesting is that over the last two-to-three years, we've seen a phenomenal increase in the demand for air travel, and that is certainly global. It's tied to high-net-worth individuals, it's tied to GDP growth, it's tied to stock market growth."

Jack Braly opined that, "...we are in the very unique position of not selling airplanes yet. So, we're here to basically let everybody know that we got the A700 back into production and we're on a certification path that should have it certified in another year-and-a-half, simply because we were able to pick up where the Adam Aircraft company had left off. But until we get the bill of material fixed... we haven't priced the airplane and we're not really looking to sell airplanes."

Cláudio Galdo Camelier explained, "In particular for Embraer, on the Phenom family, we have over 800 airplanes sold with firm orders. We had no cancellations at all, no defaults on payments. Out of these airplanes, about two-thirds are Phenom 100s, which we'll be starting delivering this year. Probably next month, we'll be delivering the first airplanes. We expect to deliver between 10 and 15 airplanes this year, and between 120 and 150 airplanes from the Phenom 100 and 300 next year."

Heavy Discussions... About Very Light Jets, With Aero-TV (Part 1)



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