Embraer’s much-anticipated Legacy 500 is now ready to enter service, having received its type certification from the Brazilian Civil Aviation Agency last month. This is expected to be closely followed by FAA and European certification within a matter of weeks.

Embraer is calling its newest aircraft a ‘game changer’. And we have to agree that it offers exciting potential to shake up the mid-sized jet category, which was the most hard hit by the economic downturn.

Legacy 500

While Embraer entered the manufacturing market late (in 2000) and just a few years before the recession hit, many consider the Brazilian company to be the one-to-watch in the coming years. It now has a strong offering in the small to mid-range jets across its Phenom and Legacy families (in 2013, the Phenom 300 was the world’s most delivered business jet with 60 aircraft).

And its long range luxury jet, the Lineage 1000 has now been upgraded to a 1000E, giving it greater range. The company is reportedly considering expanding its offering in the ultra long range jet category, taking on the market share of rivals Gulfstream and Bombardier.

Embraer

Many consider Brazilian manufacturer Embraer to be the one-to-watch in the coming years

The new Legacy 500 combines the handling and agility of a smaller aircraft, with the solidity and cabin comfort of a long range jet. Embraer announced that the Legacy 500 exceeded or achieved all its goals in its recent certification, so its official range is now 3,125 nm (exceeding the target of 3,000 nm) and its cruising speed 466 kts/Mach 0.83. This means it can comfortably complete nonstop journeys coast-to-coast in the USA, or from London to Jeddah.

Its certified take-off distance of 4,084ft/1,245m also means it is capable of using many smaller runways – opening up itinerary options. So it’s likely to have broad appeal.

The aircraft was a popular exhibit at the static display at EBACE earlier this year, with many – including me – keen to experience its much-talked-about cabin. The flat floor and 6ft head height make it feel very spacious and closer to a long range jet interior. A number of configurations, including a side-facing divan and fully reclining seats, reflect its versatility. And the latest connectivity and entertainment technology are in place.

Take a virtual tour:

For Embraer it bridges the gap in their portfolio, between the Phenom 300 and Legacy 600. It will compete in the mid-size jet category against existing aircraft such as the popular Hawker 900.

And of course rival manufacturer Cessna have their own mid-sized game changer in the pipeline, in the shape of the Citation Latitude, due to launch in a few months from now (see previous post The Citation Latitude Takes Flight). So it’s going to be fascinating to see how this section of the market evolves in the next few years.

We look forward to offering the Legacy 500 when it enters the charter market soon. In the meantime, contact us or call +44 1747 642 777 (24 hours) for advice on which aircraft is best suited to your trip.