Embraer Opens Florida Plant

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Embraer will open its first U.S. factory next week in Melbourne, Fla. The 90,000-square-foot assembly plant for Phenom business jets will be officially opened with a ribbon-cutting Feb. 21. The factory project was announced shortly after the Phenom 300 prototype started flying in May of 2008. Both the Phenom 100 and the Phenom 300 will be assembled at the $50 million plant and about 200 people will work there. The company will also conduct flight testing and do delivery preparation at the Melbourne facility. Last year the company delivered 100 Phenom 100s and at least 11 Phenom 300s. Embraer may not be finished building U.S. factories, it was learned last week.

Embraer announced in early February that it would partner with Sierra Nevada to assemble Super Tucano light attack aircraft in Jacksonville, Fla., if it wins a $950 million contract with the Air Force. It's competing with Hawker Beechcraft's AT-6 for the contract, which will initially supply about 35 single-engine turboprops capable of carrying a wide variety of weapons, including precision guided stores. Embraer would renovate an existing 41,000-square-foot hangar in Jacksonville at a cost of $3.8 million. Embraer met with city and state officials Feb. 6.