“It’s not enough to think about sustainability like it had been in the past as a desire or some kind of noble cause—it’s a demand necessity and we have the responsibility and [incentive] to proceed on that path,” Embraer Executive Jets president and CEO Michael Amalfitano said Monday at NBAA-BACE 2022. He noted the company’s recent demonstration test flights on 100 percent sustainable aviation fuel (SAF) using one of its E195-E2 regional jets, which flew with one engine burning neat SAF while the other used a 50 percent SAF blend.
Amalfitano said similar tests will be performed using a Phenom light jet and a Praetor midsize jet in the first quarter of next year. Earlier this year, the company signed a letter of intent with renewable fuel provider Raizen to stimulate the development of the SAF production ecosystem. “We’re very much embedded in the source part of the process so that we can learn,” said Amalfitano, adding that the company’s aircraft contingent at the NBAA-BACE static display (Static AD_410) this week all flew to the show using SAF.
Meanwhile, business has been strong. Amalfitano noted that customers who are getting into private aviation are about 20 years younger than previously. With the airframer’s backlog extending out to the fourth quarter of 2024 across all four of its models, he said supply-chain issues now extend to the raw material level.
“If I ordered something today in those categories, it used to take 180 days, now it takes 540 days to get the same product from the [supplier] to your shelves where you need it to build something or take care of a customer.” As a result, the OEM is working on-site with its suppliers to tackle this paradigm and embracing more lean manufacturing methods.
When asked about the prospects of a global recession, Amalifitano replied, “It’s already happening” and noted that the inflationary increases in all aspects of production will eventually need to be passed along through the value chain. He said the company hasn’t seen the results of this impact on its customers yet.
Concurrently, Embraer on Monday announced it had closed on a $650 million revolving credit facility, the company’s first since 2010, which will reinforce its liquidity for the coming years.
At the show, the OEM also revealed that FlightSafety will produce a new full-flight simulator for the Praetor 500 and 600 to meet the growing demand for training in those models. The device, the third for the type produced by FlightSafety, will be located in Orlando, Florida, which is hosting this year’s NBAA show and is less than a one-hour drive from Embraer’s U.S. headquarters in Melbourne.
Embraer’s services and support division, which earned the top score in this year’s AIN Product Support Survey for aircraft, is highlighted at the show’s static display, with one of its AOG rescue trucks on exhibit.