Embraer CEO Fred Curado says the Brazilian company now has a "industrial footprint" in the U.S. and future expansion will depend on developing new products and markets. Curado told AVweb in a video interview at the ribbon-cutting for its new Phenom final assembly plant in Melbourne, Fla., that while there are no firm plans for expansion, there's room to grow in the U.S. and particularly in Melbourne. The central Florida town will be hard hit by cutbacks at NASA, and the Embraer plant has been welcomed with open arms by a community that has a strong aerospace base.
The new plant is designed to build up to 100 entry-level jets a year. Completed fuselages and wings will be shipped to Melbourne from Brazil and all the systems will be installed and tested in Melbourne. The plan is to build a single airplane in 2011, 30 in 2012 and 60 in 2013. The market will dictate further expansion but Curado says Embraer has the land and Melbourne has the skilled workforce to support that expansion.