TAK­ING FLIGHT

Daryl Lee quizzes Em­braer Ex­ec­u­tive Jets’ re­gional sales vice pres­i­dent, Clau­dio Came­lier, about his thoughts on the man­u­fac­turer’s rel­a­tive new­ness in the sec­tor and pri­vate avi­a­tion in the re­gion.

Robb Report (Malaysia) - - Global Luxury - Jan­uary – 2 017

E mbraer is nearly 50 years old and has a rep­u­ta­tion for mak­ing mil­i­tary and com­mer­cial air­craft, but the Brazil­ian man­u­fac­turer only en­tered the pri­vate jet mar­ket at the turn of the mil­len­nium, with a re­pur­posed ver­sion of its ERJ re­gional jet.

De­spite Em­braer’s ex­pe­ri­ence in build­ing air­craft, pri­vate jets are com­pletely dif­fer­ent from com­mer­cial air­lin­ers, par­tic­u­larly in the air­craft’s in­te­rior. Em­braer’s vice pres­i­dent of sales for the Mid­dle East and Asia- Pa­cific, Clau­dio Came­lier would know – he’s been with Em­braer for nearly 20 years. In that time, he’s shut­tled back and forth be­tween com­mer­cial and ex­ec­u­tive avi­a­tion, work­ing in a va­ri­ety of roles from cus­tomer sup­port, sales en­gi­neer­ing and prod­uct strat­egy.

The Brazil­ian man­u­fac­turer only en­tered the pri­vate jet mar­ket at the turn of the mil­len­nium.

Ac­cord­ing to Came­lier: “The level of fin­ish­ing ex­pected (in a busi­ness jet) is com­pletely dif­fer­ent and it’s a very im­por­tant as­pect. In the early years, we part­nered BMW De­sign­works for cabin de­sign in the Phe­nom 100 and 300, and for the Legacy 450 and 500. This al­lowed us to quickly learn cus­tomer re­quire­ments. To­day, we de­velop in-house de­sign ca­pa­bil­i­ties with our fa­cil­ity in Florida, and we’re re­ally at the top in that re­gard.”

How­ever, the fact re­mains that de­spite its suc­cess in com­mer­cial and de­fence avi­a­tion, Em­braer re­mains a new name in ex­ec­u­tive avi­a­tion and rais­ing brand aware­ness is a chal­lenge, Came­lier says. How­ever, he also sees it as an op­por­tu­nity.

“If you look at mo­bile phones, once big names like Mo­torola are no longer in the in­dus­try in a sig­nif­i­cant way, but names like Ap­ple and Sam­sung are. Be­ing new in the mar­ket al­lows us to be in­no­va­tive in our prod­ucts,” he says.

To be sure, Em­braer is no stranger to chal­leng­ing en­vi­ron­ments. Its last ma­jor prod­uct ex­pan­sion, en­tail­ing mil­lions of dol­lars in­vested in R&D, oc­curred in 2008, around the time of the last ma­jor global eco­nomic down­turn.

Came­lier is keen to stress that that was money well spent. “We’ve in­vested mil­lions in state-of-the-art air­planes that are more ef­fi­cient, more com­fort­able and even bet­ter­look­ing than our com­peti­tors. Since cus­tomers are now more dis­cern­ing about what they’re buy­ing, this ex­tremely com­pet­i­tive mar­ket is an ad­van­tage for Em­braer.”

On the topic of chal­leng­ing mar­kets, the Asia-pa­cific ap­petite for pri­vate jets is grow­ing, but “at a slower rate now”, says Came­lier, though the big­ger hur­dle is that there isn’t a strong cul­ture of pri­vate avi­a­tion in this re­gion. As for why ex­actly, Came­lier sug­gests that a pri­vate jet is viewed as a bit of a toy here.

“Let’s say some­one be­comes very rich, and the first thing they do is buy a yacht and a jet to show off. But the ma­jor­ity of busi­ness jet users – and that’s why they’re called busi­ness jets – use them to be more ef­fi­cient. They don’t have to be re­stricted to air­line sched­ules, they can fly di­rectly to where they want to go and they only need to be at the air­port 15 min­utes be­fore de­par­ture.

“Time is money, so a busi­ness jet is a money maker,” quips Came­lier.

He does, how­ever, ad­mit that a pri­vate jet isn’t for every­body. He says it must make sense for a po­ten­tial buyer – they must travel fre­quently, and even then, to des­ti­na­tions not well served by com­mer­cial air­lines.

Whether busy, time-strapped ex­ec­u­tives in the re­gion will see the light, as it were, is some­thing that won’t hap­pen overnight, says Came­lier.

And that con­stant striv­ing might very well be an apt metaphor for Em­braer.

That’s helped along by what Came­lier says is the big­gest lessons he’s taken away from his two decades at the Brazil­ian man­u­fac­turer. “Lis­ten to your cus­tomers. They have a lot of im­por­tant things to tell you. When you start ig­nor­ing them and you do things that you be­lieve are right when your cus­tomers are telling you other­wise, that’s not a clever idea.” www. em­braer ex­e­cut i ve jets.com ”

“Time is money, so a busi­ness jet is a money maker.”

Ac­cord­ing to Em­braer, the Legacy 500 is the only mid­sized jet that can carry eight trav­ellers.

From top: at 1.83m tall and 7.32m long, with a flat floor, the Legacy 450’s cabin is the largest in its class; Clau­dio Came­lier.

Last month, Em­braer de­liv­ered two Phe­nom 300s to Col­or­ful Yun­nan Gen­eral Avi­a­tion for use in mis­sions, such as med­i­cal res­cues, and cus­tomised leisure and busi­ness travel in the Chi­nese prov­ince.

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