Brazil's Air Force commander, brigadier Juniti Saito, signed Monday, June 2,Â in São José dos Campos, in the interior of the southeastern state of São Paulo, at Embraer's headquarters, the contract to purchase two executive-version EMB-190/195s to integrate the Brazilian presidential fleet.
According to Embraer's president, Frederico Fleury Curado, each plane will cost 84 million reais (US$ 51 million) and will have special configuration to accommodate authorities.
The first aircraft is expected to be delivered next year in March and the second by November 2009. Saito says the old planes in the presidential fleet represent a high operational onus.
The new aircraft are going to replace 34-year-old Boeings 737-200, which serve as backups for the Brazilian Air Force One, also known as Aero Lula, an Airbus 319.Â These backups are affectionately known as Sucatinha (Little Junks).Â
Just last Friday, May 30, one of the Sucatinhas had a windscreen crackled while returning from a trip from El Salvador to Brazil.
The Brazilian presidency will soon be putting for sale both of its old Boeings, Little Junk and Big Junk.
Curado revealed that the vintage Boeings have been suffering "complex breakdowns" and required installation of new equipment. Moreover, they are gas guzzlers and don't have proper personnel to maintain them.
"The Airbus will continue to be the presidency's main plane while the Embraer will be used as backup since the aircraft has autonomy to fly to any South American capital," Curado said.
The Embraer planes will be operated by the Special Transportation Group (Grupo de Transporte Especial – GTE) of the Brazilian Air Force (Força Aérea Brasileira – FAB), which serves the President of the Republic, ministries, presidential departments, and officials from the legislative and judiciary branches.
"It will be an honor and a source of pride for all of Embraer's employees to see our EMBRAER 190 flying in the colors of the Federal Republic of Brazil," said Curado.
"We are certain that the attributes that have provided the underpinnings of the success of this aircraft model worldwide – comfort, safety, performance, advanced technology, and economical operations – will contribute to the excellence of the GTE's operations as it fulfills its mission within the scope of the Brazilian Air Force and the Brazilian government."
The aircraft will be configured with special communications systems, as well as a private area for the President, including space for meetings. It will also have capacity for carrying around 40 passengers.
"Embraer is a worldwide benchmark for the aeronautical industry, and the purchase of these new aircraft is in harmony with the objectives of the nation's industrial development policies," said Saito.
The FAB (Brazilian Air Force) already operates other transportation aircraft manufactured by Embraer, like the ERJ 145, Legacy 600, and EMB 120 Brasília models.
Besides these, other members of the military fleet projected and manufactured in Brazil are the AMX, Tucano, Super Tucano, and the Intelligence, Surveillance and Reconnaissance (ISR) airplanes operated by the Amazon Surveillance System (Sistema de Vigilância da Amazônia – SIVAM).