“"I've got a list of corporations that have gotten out of their airplanes [because of criticism from politicians]. It is the stupidest thing I've ever seen. When you look at the time and cost savings; it does not make sense not to fly [privately]. You can't let public perception interfere with your business decision to fly. It either is a good business decision or it isn't."”
Luis Carlos Affonso
Dreams do come true, and Luis Carlos Affonso is proof. An aeronautical engineer and private pilot, he took over in the spring of 2005 as executive vice president of the newly formed Embraer Executive Aviation division, a position he described as "just where I want to be."
He is the product of an engineering education, and after 22 years with Embraer, a life designing and building airplanes for the Brazilian manufacturer is as much a calling as it is a profession. When Embraer decided to launch a business aircraft manufacturing division, it was with the blessing of then-president and CEO Mauricio Botelho that the company selected Affonso to head the effort.
After two years under his leadership, the outlook for the company's business jet division is bright. The order book for the Legacy 600, Embraer's first executive jet, has passed 150; orders for the new Phenom 100 very light jet and Phenom 300 light jet total more than 500; and about 10 orders have been placed for the Lineage 1000, an executive/VIP version of Embraer's E190 airliner. At the National Business Aviation Association's convention in September, Affonso unveiled two more business jets currently under study. Both are clean-sheet projects, one of which was on display at the show in the form of a full-scale cabin mockup.