December 12, 2012

Business jet manufacturer Embraer S.A. recently announced plans to open a new engineering and technology facility in Melbourne, FL, which will nearly double the size of its workforce there by the end of 2016.

The new 63,500-square-foot Embraer Engineering and Technology Center USA will sit on 13 acres and house a state-of-the-art engineering unit, complete with 3D computer-aided design, computational fluid dynamics, finite element modeling, 3D virtual reality center, prototype capabilities and sophisticated laboratories and other test equipment. Employment specialties will include mechanical and electrical systems engineers, interior design engineers, structural engineers and certification engineers.

The new Embraer facility, expected to open in mid-2014, will be only the second research and development facility established outside Embraer’s headquarters in São José dos Campos, Brazil. It will join other buildings on the company’s Melbourne campus, including an 80,000-square-foot assembly and paint facility and a 58,000-square-foot customer delivery center, both opened in 2011.

“These 200 new jobs mean more families will be able to bring a paycheck home,” Florida Gov. Rick Scott said at the Nov. 28 groundbreaking ceremony for the new $24 million engineering and technology center, located at Melbourne International Airport. The new jobs will increase Embraer’s business aircraft work force at its Melbourne facilities from 212 to more than 400 by 2016.

Embraer officials said the project was a team effort.

“Breaking ground on the newest facility at our growing aeronautical cluster in Melbourne is an important milestone for Embraer on its path to becoming a truly global company,” said Gary Spulak, president of Embraer Aircraft Holding Inc. “This latest achievement is a testament to the close partnership we have with the state of Florida and economic development authorities on the Space Coast and Melbourne, without which this aviation campus would not have been possible.”

Spulak also said the company plans to partner with universities and other institutions in the U.S. to develop “programs of mutual benefit” and bring its Phenom 100 and Phenom 300 business jets closer to potential U.S. customers.

Embraer began producing its entry-level Phenom 100 in early 2011 and won its FAA production certificate last June, making it the first Embraer jet manufactured in Florida. Just two months ago, production began on the company’s seven-seat Phenom 300 at the Melbourne facility, and officials said they expect more than a dozen of the business jets to roll off the assembly line by the end of 2013.

NBAA Regional Representative Harry Houckes said Embraer’s decision to expand in Florida was due in part to the large number of skilled aerospace workers on the state’s Space Coast.

“There are a great number of highly skilled aerospace people in the Melbourne area who used to work on the Space Shuttle project, and Embraer was smart to take advantage of it,” he said. “The entire Space Coast of Florida, from Cape Canaveral all the way down to West Palm Beach, will benefit from this new business aviation facility.”