Embraer delivers jet to Melbourne

Deal could be worth $1 billion

MELBOURNE, Fla. - Embraer Executive Jets on Wednesday celebrated what the company is calling "a major milestone in its history" -- delivery of the first of up to 125 Phenom 300 light jets to NetJets.

If the Columbus, Ohio-based NetJets, a subsidiary of Berkshire Hathaway, exercises its options on the Embraer contract, the deal has the potential to be worth $1 billion to the company, Local 6 News partner Florida Today reported.

Embraer assembles its Phenom 100 and Phenom 300 business jets at a facility Melbourne International Airport. Also based at the airport is the company's North American Customer Center for other lines of jets.

NetJets offers fractional ownership and rental of private business jets. Its deal with Embraer was signed three years ago and is part of an order that includes 50 Phenom 300 and the option for 75 more.

"It was a significant validation that Embraer Executive Jets had delivered to the market an aircraft that meets NetJets increasingly demanding requirements for safety, comfort, economics, performance and reliability," said Ernest Edwards, the president of Embraer Executive Jets.

The actual Phenom 300 aircraft unveiled Wednesday morning at a special ceremony at Embraer's Customer Center in Melbourne was made in Brazil. The rest of the NetJets order will begin at Embraer's Melbourne assembly facility next year.

The jet is flying to Columbus from Melbourne and then it's off to Omaha, Neb., for the Berkshire Hathaway shareholders meeting.

Jordan Hansell, chairman and chief executive officer of NetJets, said the Embraer jet met all the company's requests. "It's going to do for our owners what they have wanted for a long, long time," Hansell said, "which is comfort, safety and performance."

As part of the deal with Embraer, NetJets designed a unique interior and cockpit for its aircraft in partnership with Embraer Executive Jets.

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