Embraer opened its executive-jet assembly plant in Melbourne, Fla., in February, and last week the company said it has started work on its first Phenom 100, which will be ready for delivery by the end of the year. The arrival of the fuselage and wing parts from Brazil is a “milestone” that shows the company’s commitment to the U..S. operation, said Ernest Edwards, president of Embraer Executive Jets. “[This] reiterates our commitment to our U.S. presence … as we all look forward to start deliveries of the first made-in-America units,” Edwards said. The company has already hired 69 engineers and technicians in Melbourne, many of them former NASA employees, and plans to hire more than 100 additional workers by the end of 2012.
The company plans to build just one airplane in Melbourne this year, ramping up to 60 in 2012. Fuselages and wings will be shipped from Brazil, and the Melbourne staff will install and test all the systems. Eventually, the plant be able to complete up to 100 jets a year. AVweb‘s Russ Niles was in Melbourne for the ribbon-cutting in February; click here for his video report, including an interview with Embraer CEO Fred Curado.