Assembly Of Phenom 300 Jets Under Way In Melbourne
By Ed Pierce // September 21, 2012
164 Production Jobs Created
BREVARD COUNTY • MELBOURNE, FLORIDA – While other high-tech companies in Brevard County are downsizing as a result of the end of the Space Shuttle program, Embraer Executive Jets at the Melbourne International Airport continues to grow and develop.
Earlier this month, Embraer began to produce its Phenom 300 light aircraft in Melbourne using a two-shift, five-days-a-week assembly line.
The Phenom 300 joins Embraer’s production of Phenom 100 jets at its 80,000-square-foot plant and 20,000-square-foot painting facility at Melbourne International Airport.
“Where we go, we grow,” said Gary J. Spulak, president of Embraer Aircraft Holding Inc. “Melbourne was chosen specifically for the Phenom 300 because of its logistical advantage to bring the Embraer Executive Jet business closer to its customers in North America.”
Spurlock said Melbourne and Brevard County met all the criteria needed to locate the $52 million plant here, such as a skilled workforce, access to deep water ports and major highways for shipping and an economic climate right for business.
Besides producing the Phenom 100 and Phenom 300 aircraft here, testing and delivery of the new aircraft will be done locally.
Embraer also has constructed a showcase Customer Service Center where customers can review planes before a purchase, selecting paint schemes and interior furnishings and take final delivery.
Through July, Embraer employed 233 people in Melbourne with about 164 of them employed in aircraft production.
“We were very fortunate to be able to draw from local talent,” said Maggie Laureano, Embraer vice president of Human Resources for North America, “We are very proud of our culture of teamwork, collaboration, trust and providing a fun place to come to work.”
She said about 27 percent of workers hired by Embraer for its Melbourne operations are former NASA or United Space Alliance employees and salaries paid by the company are competitive to their former wages.
Embraer delivered its first Phenom 100 jet from Melbourne last December and obtained its FAA certification in June, so adding the Pheno0m 300 to production was the next step in the company’s progression here. “Customers have been benefitting from the delivery of the Phenom 100 produced in Melbourne since last year and we are now ready to extend those operations,” said Phill Krull managing director of Embraer’s Melbourne facility.
Laureano also noted that Florida Trend magazine has recognized Embraer as one of the top places to work in the state, jumping from #28 in 2010 to #12 last year.
Embraer delivered its first Phenom 100 jet from Melbourne last December and obtained its FAA certification in June, so adding the Pheno0m 300 to production was the next step in the company’s progression here.
“Customers have been benefitting from the delivery of the Phenom 100 produced in Melbourne since last year and we are now ready to extend those operations,” said Phill Krull managing director of Embraer’s Melbourne facility.
Krull said the goal is to have the Phenom 100 and Phenom 300 assembly lines churning out eight finished aircraft every month.
Most of the aircraft being manufactured have been sold about a year in advance of their production.
Lynda Weatherman, the president and chief executive officer of the Economic Development Commission of Florida’s Space Coast, said Embraer’s continued success in Melbourne is a win for Brevard County in general.
“Every jet sold here will have an impact,” Weatherman said. “We’ve really never experienced a company like Embraer coming here. This happens once in a career. We couldn’t ask for more from a company.”
Spurlock also said the company will add an additional 200 jobs to the Melbourne site once the new Embraer Engineering and Technology Center is completed next year.
The first U.S.-assembled Phenom 300 jet is scheduled to be delivered in March.