Brazilian aircraft manufacturer Embraer has secured its long term presence at the Melbourne International Airport with yesterday’s 6-0 vote by the airport authority to lease 25 acres of land on the airport for Embraer for 30 years to build a final assembly plant for the Phenom 100 very light jet and Phenom 300 light jet.
“There was no way we were going to let this opportunity pass us by,” said Larry Wuensch, Melbourne’s director of land development, regarding the authority’s failed bid in 2005 to be the North American location for EADS’ KC45 tanker program. Wuensch says loss of the tanker was “painful” but taught officials “many lessons that helped the airport land Embraer.” EADS ultimately chose Mobile, Alabama for its final assembly plant for the tanker, though the program remains stalled pending the resolution of a protest by Boeing.
Embraer has said it will assemble as many as eight jets per year at the new 13,900m2 (150,000ft2) final assembly facility by 2012. The airframer says the move is designed to help it get closer to its customer base and to assure on-time deliveries.
Embraer has promised an investment of $ 41 million and will produce a payroll for the Melbourne employees in excess of $10 million per year soon as January 2010, according to the airport authority. Embraer’s first year lease payment of $ 286,000 will be waived as incentive for a total initial leasing package of more than $ 8 million, the authority adds.