Legacy 500 and 450 Advance
By By Fred George email@example.com
Source: Business & Commercial Aviation
After a one-year hiatus caused by the Legacy 450/500's FBW development problems, once again people in Montreal, Savannah and Wichita are paying close attention to the Brazilian jet maker's blend of cabin size, range and technology, plus price.
Currently priced at just under $20 million, the Legacy 500 will be highly competitive with both longer-range midsize and shorter-range super-midsize aircraft, including the all-composite $19 million Bombardier Learjet 85. The Canadians also are mulling over an improved version of the Challenger 300 with more range and tanks-full payload in an effort to move the aircraft away from the Legacy 500 and closer to the Gulfstream G280.
Cessna officials still wince at the one-two punch of the Phenom 100 and 300 that knocked down Citation CJ1+ and CJ4 sales. So, the Wichitans are wary about the arrival of the Legacy 500. Doubtlessly, the threat influenced the firm's decision to upgrade a second-generation Citation Sovereign that will carry more tanks-full payload, cruise 150 nm farther and offer considerably more advanced avionics. It's due to enter service in 2013 as a preemptive move against the Brazilians.
Gulfstream, too, is monitoring the progress of the Legacy 500 because of its potential impact on G150 sales. While Embraer's new super-midsize is $4 million more expensive than Gulfstream's smallest production business aircraft, the two aircraft have similar range. However, the Legacy 500's 75% advantage in cabin size and FBW flight control technology could tempt buyers and potentially syphon off future G150 orders.
Then, in 2015, the Legacy 450 arrives. It has the same cross section as the Legacy 500 and all the same technology features, but it has a shorter fuselage and carries less fuel. It's aggressively priced at about $16 million to compete head-on with mainstream midsize business aircraft.
In short, 2014 and 2015 promise to be milestone years in the history of business aviation. If Embraer earns as much market share with its new midsize Legacy 450 and super-midsize Legacy 500 jets as it did with its Phenom 100 and 300 lights, plus Legacy 600/650 regional jetliner derivatives, some well-established business jet manufacturers could take a bruising. BCA