Embraer Unveils Two New Business Jets It Says Will Claim Long-Range Crown

The Praetor


Embraer introduced midsize and super-midsize business jets Sunday that it aims to launch in 2019, filling out what was already one of the broadest lineups in the market with what the company says will be the longest-range planes in their class.

The Praetor 500 and Praetor 600 are fully fly-by-wire, a first for jets of their size, with active turbulence reduction, as well as what the company says is a best-in-category 5,800-foot cabin altitude and the highest payload capacity. The Praetor 500 also lays claim to being the fastest midsize jet, with a maximum speed of mach 0.83.

The Praetor 600 is an attempt by Embraer to gain ground in the lucrative super-midsize segment. The company says it has an intercontinental range of 3,900 nautical miles with four passengers aboard, making it capable of flying nonstop from New York to London. It can be configured for eight to 12 passengers. The base price is $21 million.

Embraer was rumored to be developing a new super-midsize, a fairly new category with cabins almost as big as large business jets but not as much flight range. It’s one of few parts of the business jet market in which sales have held up well amid the post-financial crisis doldrums. “It hits the sweet spot in the market between price, cabin size and performance, particularly range,” says Ray Jaworowski, an analyst with Forecast International.

There were 86 super-midsize aircraft built last year, led by Bombardier’s Challenger 350, which was the top-selling business jet of 2017, with 56 deliveries. Forecast International expects the market to top 100 aircraft built a year by 2021.

The Praetor 600 will be entering contested airspace, with the Gulfstream G280, Dassault Falcon 2000S and the forthcoming Cessna Longitude, which could enter service by the end of the year, in addition to the Challenger 350.

The Praetor 500 and 600 are derivatives of Embraer’s Legacy 450 and 500 jets, with new winglets and extra fuel tanks for greater range.

The Praetor 500 will face less competition, going up against the Cessna Citation Sovereign+ and Embraer’s own Legacy 450, where there’s overlap in size and seating capacity.

There were 32 midsize aircraft built in 2017.

“There could be some opportunities there,” says Jaworowski. “That could be a market that’s relatively unexploited.”

Embraer says the Praetor 500 will be the fastest jet in the category, with segment-topping continental range of 3,250 nautical miles with four passengers, and a maximum capacity of nine. Base list price: $17 million.

The base Legacy 450 lists for $16.57 million; the 500 for $20 million.

Embraer expects to win certification of the Praetor 600 in the second quarter of 2019, and the Praetor 500 in the third.

Michael Amalfitano, CEO of Embraer Executive Jets, said at the Praetor unveiling in Orlando that they boast “unmatched performance, comfort and technology in their categories.”

The cockpit of the Praetor 600 and 500 feature a Rockwell Collins ProLine Fusion flight deck witha vertical weather display, air-traffic-control-like situational awareness withADSB-IN, and predictive wind shear radar capability.

The cockpit of the Praetor 600 and 500 feature a Rockwell Collins ProLine Fusion flight deck with
a vertical weather display, air-traffic-control-like situational awareness with
ADSB-IN, and predictive wind shear radar capability.Forbes Media

Both planes are powered by twin Honeywell HTF 7500E turbofan engines, with a higher-thrust version for the Praetor 600. The flight deck features a Rockwell Collins ProLine Fusion avionics suite, an optional enhanced vision system with a heads-up-display, and what Embraer says is an industry-first vertical weather display. The planes will give passengers 16Mbps connectivity courtesy of ViaSat’s Ka-band, and IPTV, which Embraer says is an industry exclusive among midsize business jets.

Amalfitano told Forbes that the key allowing Embraer to offer Ka-band on a smaller jet was that it was able to engineer an aerodynamic housing for the equipment.

Amalfitano was cagey as to whether the company was planning to fill in the one big hole in its product lineup: large-cabin jets. Embraer doesn’t need a “me too” plane, says Amalfitano, and would only make the leap if it has disruptive technology.

On the elephant in the room for Embraer, the sale of a controlling stake in the commercial airliner business to Boeing, which is pending approval by Brazilian authorities, Amalfitano said the executive jet division stands to benefit from the strengthening of its parent company’s balance sheet and Boeing’s ability to lower supply chain costs.

Embraer employees pose for a photo next to the Praetor 600 and the motorcycle CEO Michael Amalfitano ostensibly rode in on for the launch event.Forbes Media