Embraer Upbeat On Biz Market Trends

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This year could be "a pivotal year to recover market growth" for jet sales, said Ernie Edwards, president of Embraer Executive Jets, at a news conference at EAA AirVenture on Wednesday. "There were record corporate profits in the first quarter 2012 in the U.S.," he said. Buyers still seem reluctant to spend, he said, but he added that pre-owned aircraft sales are slowing down and bizjet traffic is "trending in the right direction," which he hopes are signs of "pent-up demand" and imminent recovery. Edwards also provided an update on the company's bizjet line and progress on new models.

First flight of the super-midsize Legacy 500, which rolled out in December, is expected by September, Edwards said, with first delivery in early 2014. The midsize Legacy 450 is a year behind the 500, he said. The company has 800 engineers working on the two designs, he added. Sales have been "struggling" at the lower end of the product line, especially for the Phenom 100, which is typically an owner-flown aircraft, he said. The Phenom 300 is "doing well," he said, and the Legacy 650, at the higher end of the market where buyers are less sensitive to economic fluctuations, is selling "very well."