Brazilian planemaker Embraer SA said it sold 23 business jets with a list value of $260 million to an expanding Mexican charter operator, which has an option to double the order.Servicios Aereos Across SA has begun to take deliveries for the first aircraft in its firm order, which includes eight Legacy 500, eight Phenom 300 and seven Phenom 100E aircraft. The deal was included in first-quarter backlog, Embraer said Monday in a statement during the European Business Aviation Convention and Exhibition in Geneva.
Across, which operates out of Toluca International Airport near Mexico City, plans to use the Embraer jets to replace its fleet of mostly Textron Inc. Cessna planes, said Chief Executive Officer Pedro Corsi. A pilot who’s certified to fly the Legacy 500, Corsi called the Embraer jet a “work of art that flies.”
“The customers are very happy with the larger cabins and performance,” Corsi said by telephone. “We are very happy with the operating costs, which are very low.”
Mexico has the world’s second-largest fleet of private jets after the U.S. Last year, Across’s charter flights jumped 50 percent to 9,000 hours, Corsi said. About 60 percent of the charter operator’s business is within Mexico, 30 percent to the U.S. and 10 percent to South and Central America, he said. Corsi, who founded Across in 2009, said his company often receives requests to fly large groups and is contemplating purchasing an Embraer Lineage 1000. That’s a converted commercial airliner that’s big enough to accommodate a bedroom, shower and other amenities.