SAO JOSE DOS CAMPOS, Brazil, Jan. 15 (UPI) -- Brazilian aircraft maker Embraer S.A. met all its delivery targets for commercial and executive jets as the year 2013 drew to a close, the company said.
The Brazilian conglomerate, which began as a modest aviation factory in Sao Jose dos Campos when its first turboprop transport rolled out in 1969, is a growing contender for global pre-eminence as it takes on major rivals in North America, Europe, Asia and Russia.
Embraer is the world's largest regional aircraft manufacturer and has plans to compete with U.S. and European rivals in tactical military transport, attack aircraft and other airborne refueling systems. The company says its focus remains on selected aviation segments with high growth potential.
Embraer delivered 90 commercial planes and 119 executive jets in 2013 against targeted deliveries of 80 to 90 light executive jets and 25 to 30 large executive jets, indicating the planemaker stands tall among Brazilian exporters that suffered last year due to the dual effects of a trade slowdown and discouraging overvaluation of the national currency real.
Based on December data, Embraer expects to earn more than $18.2 billion from firm orders above the revenue forecasts of about $17.8 billion revealed around September.
Among contracts secured by Embraer recently is an American Airlines Group Inc. order for as many as 150 aircraft, an indication of how the plane maker's competitive pricing is reflected in Western Hemisphere demand and supply of fuel-efficient and economical aircraft.
Embraer said the American Airlines order was the "main highlight of the quarter." The order covers a firm contract for 60 E175 jets with options for the purchase of an additional 90 jets of the same model. The narrow-body medium-range twin-engine jet airliner was launched at the Paris Air Show in 1999.
Embraer customers now include several other regional airlines in Canada and the United States plus numerous other operators in Europe, Africa and Asia.
On the military front, Embraer's EMB 314 Super Tucano turboprop light attack aircraft is set to make inroads into the European market as part of an overall deal with Sweden's Saab for the delivery of next generation fighters for the Brazilian air force. Saab is likely to supply Brazil with as many as 36 of its Gripen NG fighters in a multibillion-dollar deal that includes several technology transfer arrangements.
As part of that overall deal, Sweden is considering the purchase of Super Tucanos as its main training aircraft over Saab's own 106 Trainer aircraft. Embraer hopes to extend the market for its Super Tucano and other light military aircraft to Britain.