PRAETOR 600 launches

Embraer took the market by surprise with two new aircraft – the Praetor 500 and 600 – at the end of 2018. CJI was there for the party.

LAUNCHED IN A HOT, steamy hangar on a Sunday afternoon before the NBACE Convention, Embraer’s Praetor 600 is a cool new aircraft set to compete in the already highly competitive super-midsize aircraft category.

Fierce competition from Bombardier’s Challenger 350, Gulfstream’s G280 and the new Cessna Citation Latitude means the Praetor 600 faces a big challenge if Embraer hopes to take over the super-midsize market. But the $20.995 million Praetor 600 puts up some big numbers – and customers like what they are seeing.

Although derived from the Legacy 500, the Praetor 600 offers a completely new experience. New avionics, improved flight characteristics and new interior options have injected a real boost to Embraer’s super-midsize offering.

Four passengers can fly 3,900 nautical miles, making easy work of popular transatlantic routes such as London to New York. This impressive range is partly due to large, high-performance winglets, but more notably from the addition of two auxiliary fuel tanks compared to the Legacy 500. Even more impressively, Embraer has squeezed in these extra tanks without compromising baggage space.

With a 6ft tall, flat floor cabin, there is enough space for up to 12 passengers. Split into two zones, there are lots of seating options for customers to choose. The second zone has space for two divans, but a single-seat layout is also possible – with lie-flat seats allowing for passengers to sleep on longer flights.

The entire cabin is incredibly well thought out. Placing the emergency exit in the lavatory to reduce cabin noise levels and hiding technology are great examples of this. Embraer argues that there is a risk of technology eventually dating an interior – something that you see on pre-own aircraft with old monitors. Hiding cabin-management systems under lids will require less engineering to re-design and retrofit than fixed screens, which may require a complete cabin refurbishment to update.

But the cabin is not just functional. When walking into a Praetor 600 for the first time – especially one with the Bossa Nova interior – you’d be forgiven for being taken aback. Embraer has adopted the luxury-car industry’s obsession with carbon fibre, which covers a significant amount of the hard surfaces. The seats feature a pattern inspired by pavements at Ipanema Beach, Rio; a nod to the manufacturer’s Brazilian heritage. Both the galley and the lavatory feature stone floors and counter tops, which helps differentiate the cabin areas and create the illusion of more space.

Oh, and the name. Praetor was a title granted by the government of Ancient Rome to leaders such as the commander of an army (the Praetorian Guard) or an elected magistrate. Embraer sees it as leading the way.

Matt Taylor, Reporter, Corporate Jet Investor