Embraer's Little Jet Could Circle The Globe

As airlines grab up its 50-seater, it challenges giant Bombardier

In a hangar at Embraer's factory in southeast Brazil's Paraiba Valley, engineers are running the aircraft maker's new plane, the EMB-145, through simulated flights on a computer screen. Chief Executive Mauricio Botelho likes what he sees on the monitor. And he's just as happy with the performance he's reading on the company's sales chart. So far, airlines worldwide have announced purchases of 30 of the 50-seat jets, including 25 bought by Houston-based Continental Express for $375 million in September, and Botelho says he has orders for an additional 33.

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