One of the largest aircraft manufacturers, the Brazil-based Embraer translated its accomplishments into a global influence that compares to, and even rivals, world-leading aviation experts such as Airbus, Boeing and Bombardier.
In terms of market metaphorics, the São José dos Campos-headquartered Embraer breached the stratosphere and propelled itself into the ionosphere, thanks to its focus on three high-growth market segments: commercial airlines, defense system aircraft, and executive aircraft production. In that latter category, the company pushed the envelope and soared eight miles high into transcendent territory. Indeed, Embraer’s executive jet aircraft rate among the best ever launched. Success resulted from a specific strategic objective; after realizing ample success in military and commercial markets, Embraer witnessed a potentially potent market on its radar and acted accordingly.
The 2000-placed plan took flight as easily as Montgolfier hot air balloon. With all systems “go” and full-speed ahead, Embraer launched its Legacy 600 model in 2000. “Early success compelled us to create a new business unit dedicated to executive aviation,” says Claudio Camelier, Embraer’s vice president of market intelligence. “We envisioned becoming a major market player by 2015.”
That estimate was conservative. The company flies far ahead of schedule. Moving forward with investments and product development, Embraer launched a veritable aviation armada; by 2005, it introduced two new business aviation aircraft, the Phenom 100 and 300 models. The next year, the company introduced its Lineage 1000, an executive version of its E-190 jet. In 2008, the company introduced its Legacy 450 and 500 models, followed a year later by its Legacy 650 model.
All aircraft are innovative and state of the art. Further, they underscore the company’s market-focused aviation evolution. “Take the Phenoms, for instance,” says Camelier. “While they share the same name, they’re completely different airplanes. The 300 model doesn’t derive from the 100 model. Rather, it’s an aircraft that possesses a much more powerful engine and flies faster and higher and covers greater distances.”
While a wide gulf separates the two planes, both have enjoyed great success within the executive market segment, with similar advantages that propel them higher than similar planes produced by competitors. “It starts with cabin size, which makes flight far more comfortable,” indicates Camelier.
More importantly, the planes proved very reliable and entail lower operating costs. Camelier adds an important point. “Right from the beginning, and whatever the market segment, our DNA is imprinted with meeting customer needs.”
As far as genesis, the company was established 1969, buts its genetics (and the aforementioned DNA) extend back to the immediate post-World War II period, when the Brazilian government developed an ambitious domestic plan to design and manufacture airplanes.
Company seeds emerged from an aeronautical center, located in São José dos Campos and established by the Brazilian Air Force, according to Camelier. The government then broadened the carefully conceived plan by establishing a university to educate aeronautical engineering students. This coupling proved fruitful, but the Air Force further fertilized efforts by creating a research and development institute. An early bud was a turbo prop plane model called the Bandeirante. From that development, Embraer blossomed in 1969 to commercialize and manufacture the aircraft.
JETTING INTO THE FUTURE
The following year, Embraer involved itself in production of the 326 Xavante aircraft, a fighter trainer plane first developed in Italy. “We produced it here for the Brazilian Air Force,” says Camelier. “It taught us a lot about jet technology, as it was our first jet airplane.”
That development rapidly propelled the company forward. During the same year (1970), Embraer became a full-force operation and appointed its first management team.
Ultimately, the government-owned company became privatized in 1994. “With this change, Embraer developed a profit focused, competitive mindset,” says Camelier. “We were already development-oriented, but privatization made us more entrepreneurial. Today, we have two strong internal cultures: one focused on business and the other focused on technology and innovation.”
Established production facilities within these twin mindsets fostered further growth.
FROM LATIN AMERICA TO THE WORLD
Today, Embraer is present on almost all continents (except Antarctica). It primarily conducts business in South America, with its main facility located in São José dos Campos. This 295,000-square-meter controlling unit, located in Faria Lima, designs and manufactures aircraft and provides support to commercial, defense and executive customers. “It’s involved in major fuselaging, wing making and entire final assembly,” says Marco Tulio, Embraer’s vice president of industrial strategy.
Other primary facilities include the Embraer Eugenio de Melo facility (located in Sao Jose dos Campos) and the Ember Gaviao Peixoto facility. The de Melo plant includes nearly 55,000 square meters positioned on 343 square meters of land. “There, we develop and manufacture tools and tubing, welded and forged parts and accomplish large cabling projects,” reveals Tulio.
The Embraer Gaviao Peixioto plant, also located in Sao Paulo, has been in operation since 2001. It devotes itself to finishing aircraft destined for executive and defense markets. Further, it manufactures major components and conducts test flights on the longest runway in Latin America.
Embraer also has a facility located in Botucatu, which it took over from Indústria Aeronáutica Neiva. Also located in Sao Paulo, the unit includes nearly 50,000 square meters of workspace. Activities include production of the Ipanema aircraft, as well as the manufacture of parts, structures and wiring harnesses for the ERJ 145, Embraer 170/190 families and the Phenom families. It also performs fuselage structure and manufacture of GSE tooling and devices. “Just another one of our state-of-the art facilties, it includes sheet metal technology and advanced automation related to fabrication of large panel and fuselage sections,” says Tulio.
Spreading its wings across the world, Embraer established joint ventures in China, Europe (Portugal) and North America (Florida). “We also have customer support, sales and services offices in various regions throughout the world, including Europe, Asia and the United States,” says Camelier.
These combined attributes enabled Embraer to become a business-plane market leader. “We’ve integrated innovative technology into all of our executive jets, with resulting differentiators that include low operation costs and high reliability,” says Camelier. “But we never lost sight of cabin comfort and attractive interior design, which we believe are the most important elements of the business jet.”
After the Phenom 100 and 300 models launchings, Embraer introduced the Legacy 450 and 500 models. “The planes feature the largest cabins in their category,” reveals Camelier. “They offer flat-floor and stand-up cabin capabilities. Also, these are very highly capable aircraft. They’re fast airplanes with good range capabilities and able to fly at a maximum altitude of 45,000 feet, which is extremely high for this kind of plane.”
But the company didn’t stop there. Next in line came the recently launched Legacy 600 and 650 models. “The difference between the two is that the 650 model offers 500 additional miles of nautical range, but both provide large cabin size, which is something that all Embraer products provide for this market segment.”
Camelier places the difference in ground-level perspective: “The Legacy 600 and 650 have huge cabins with three different zones. Most business-category planes only have two different cabin zones. So, when you compare our offerings to competitors, it’s like comparing a two-bedroom apartment to a three-bedroom apartment.”
If that isn’t enough to close the sale, Camelier offers one more point: “Embraer executive jets offer the largest baggage compartment of any comparable aircraft, a very important element for our customers, many of whom come from the Middle East. Such customers often fly with their families to Europe and, as such, need to bring on board a great deal of luggage. Our Legacy model permits them to do that without any logistical problems.”
These advantages indicate how Embraer always provides a reliable plane that’s always available when needed. Regarded as the best in their category, offering ample space and comfort, as well as outstanding performance and low operation cost, they signify why and how Embraer soars above its competition.