Embraer wrapped up certification flight tests of its new 3,900-nm super midsize Praetor 600 model on Monday as it remains on track for approval and deliveries beginning in mid-year, company executives said today. Meanwhile, the 3,250-nm midsize Praetor 500 sibling is expected to follow this year. The company is now turning to a flight maturity campaign as it preps the models for market entry. The certification flight test campaign had accrued 339 flight hours and 472 flight cycles, with the maturity campaign so far collecting another 32.2 flight hours and 14 flight cycles.
Unveiled during the 2018 NBAA convention last fall in Orlando, Florida, the Praetor 600 improves the capabilities of the Legacy 500 with new winglets, additional fuel capacity, and more powerful Honeywell HTF7500E engines. The Praetor 500, meanwhile, similarly boosts the fuel capacity of the Legacy 450 from 12,108 pounds to 13,058 pounds, by expanding the fuel volume to match that of the Legacy 500. The models will feature avionics and interior enhancements.
Existing Legacy customers will have the option to upgrade their aircraft to the Praetor 500 with additional fuel capacity in the wing, new winglets and interior, and a Collins 6.x avionics load.
Releasing 2018 results today, company executives were pleased by market reception of the new variants with backlog sold out in 2019, extending into 2020. However, a shift to the Praetor lines factored into lower deliveries of Embraer’s Executive Jets division in 2018.
The company delivered 91 business jets in 2018, down from 109 a year earlier and reflecting a dip in both the light jet and large jet lines. With the lower deliveries, the Executive Jets unit’s net revenues slid from $1.28 billion in 2017 to $1.104 billion last year. In the fourth quarter alone, Executive Jets revenues fell 35 percent on 24.6 percent fewer deliveries. Backlog at the end of the year for the unit ended up at $800 million, accounting for 5 percent of the company’s total backlog.
In addition, the Executive Jets division incurred a $61.3 million impairment charge, related to lower than expected cash flow. These results contributed to a nearly $800 million overall decline in company-wide revenue in 2018, as well as an adjusted income loss of $54.2 million and a net loss attributable to shareholders of $178.2 million.
Embraer executives, however, said that in business jets, they see a recovery this year.