Embraer's Billion Dollar Contract And Brazil's New JetBlue

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A Brazilian airline is standing behind its native manufacturer, Embraer (the largest manufacturer of commercial jets with fewer than 120 seats), to the tune of $1.4 billion. Embraer signed a contract with the as-yet unnamed airline, headed by JetBlue founder and former president David Neeleman, for 36 118-seat fly-by-wire Embraer 195 jets with options for another 20 more, and purchase rights for yet another 20. If all of those options are fulfilled, the total value of the order could list as high as $3 billion. A marketing campaign to publicize the new airline's name and brand should begin "soon" according to a press release from Embraer, and the carrier will receive its first jet later this year. Embraer's 195 entered service in September 2006, cruises at Mach 0.82 at 41,000 feet, has a 2,200-nm range, and can fly nonstop between any two major cities in Brazil. The airline will fit the aircraft with two seats on either side of a center aisle and equip each seat with individual Live TV screens.

Embraer finished 2007 with a firm order backlog of $18.8 billion. The manufacturer was recently cited by the aviation consulting firm The Boyd Group as well-positioned to take advantage of current market trends toward high-efficiency mid-size jets.