Embraer, yet again, is enlarging its footprint on the Space Coast. The Brazilian aircraft manufacturer on Sunday said it will begin assembling two new lines of business jets at the Orlando Melbourne International Airport. The midsize jets are called the Praetor 500 and Praetor 600, which the company says will “introduce unprecedented range into their categories.”
The name Praetor — pronounced pree ter — was the title of a high official in ancient Rome.
Embraer says the Praetor 500 will be the fastest midsize aircraft capable of reaching Europe from the west coast of the U.S. with a single stop. The Praetor 600, the company says, will be the farthest-flying super-midsize business jet, allowing nonstop flights between London and New York.
The Praetor jets are currently under development with two Praetor 600 prototypes in flight tests, as well as one production-conforming aircraft and one production-conforming Praetor 500.
The Praetor 600 is expected to be certified and will begin flying in the second quarter of 2019, followed by the Praetor 500 in the third quarter of 2019.
“The Praetors are aircraft, certainly in keeping with their name, leading the way in redefining the characteristics of what a midsize and super-midsize aircraft deliver to the market,” said Michael Amalfitano, president and chief executive officer of the Melbourne-headquartered Embraer Executive Jets.
“The introduction of these aircraft support our vision of fascinating our customers and providing them with superior value and the best experience in the industry,” he said.
The aircraft was introduced Sunday at Orlando Executive Airport, a day before the opening of the National Business Aviation Association convention at the Orange County Convention Center. More than 25,000 people from 90 countries are expected for the two-day event.
Base cost of the Praetor 500 is estimated at $17 million. For the Praetor 600 it’s $21 million. Typical options for each the aircraft can add $1 million to $2 million to those base amounts.
Assembling the Praetors in Melbourne won’t require new facilities as they’ll be put together based on Embraer’s existing platforms at the airport. It’s unclear what the Embraer announcement means for jobs in the area.
About 950 people currently are employed by the company’s operations here.
“We are elated with Embraer’s announcement that a new aircraft with intercontinental range will be produced here,” said Greg Donovan, executive director at Orlando Melbourne International.
“Embraer has built an incredible reputation for designing the world’s most advanced aircraft. The Melbourne Airport Authority’s vision has accommodated such growth by investing in the infrastructure necessary. From new runways to taxiways, hangars to component buildings — those investments continue to pay dividends for our airport, our tenants and our community,” he said.
“The Praetor jets are yet another example of Embraer’s innovative design and technology advancements,” said Lynda Weatherman, president and chief executive officer at the Economic Development Commission of Florida’s Space Coast.
“The selection of the Melbourne facility for assembly is a complement of our dynamic workforce and an on-going benefit to this community from Embraer’s initial investment nearly 10 years ago,” she said.
Embraer, since announcing plans to locate to Melbourne a decade ago to assemble the smaller business-class jets, the Phenom 100 and Phenom 300, has been a gift that keeps on giving on the Space Coast.
A glimmer of economic hope when the area wrestled with a major nationwide recession and huge labor reductions from the ending of the space shuttle program at the Kennedy Space Center, Embraer’s local portfolio has grown to include:
- Assembling of the midsize Legacy 450 and Legacy 500.
- A global customer care center.
- Embraer’s Engineering and Technology Center.
- Embraer Aero Seatings Technologies, or E.A.S.T., in Titusville.
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