One of the biggest stories in the aircraft business recently has been about the world's biggest plane -- the Airbus double-decker A380. For its part, Airbus rival Boeing (NYSE:BA), which is building a new medium-sized jet, has scoffed at the A380, arguing that the market for such giants is limited. Now another plane maker appears to have taken a page from Airbus' playbook by catering to another extreme of the market. In this case, the plane maker has decided that instead of building big, it is going small.

Embraer (NYSE:ERJ), which is a Motley Fool Stock Advisor recommendation, disclosed on Tuesday that it is expanding its portfolio with new jets that will compete in the "light" and "very light" categories. The Brazilian aerospace outfit is already known for its growing success in supplying commercial airlines with medium-sized planes. In one such deal, Embraer is scheduled to supply JetBlue (NASDAQ:JBLU) with 100 E190 jets, which can carry as many as 106 passengers.

By contrast, Embraer's light and very light planes will target wealthy individuals and businesses. Embraer is no stranger to the business jets; it already sells in that market through its Legacy line. Still, the new planes will be a lot smaller than even the tiniest Legacy, which is configured for 18 passengers. The light jets will have a capacity for no more than nine passengers, while the very light planes will carry no more than eight. They will also be relatively cheap, at between $2.75 million and $6.65 million apiece.

The opportunity for Embraer is fairly significant. The company estimates that demand for jets from the "very light" through "entry" levels amounts to 3,000 planes over the next decade. With its established name and marketing heft, Embraer looks to have pretty good odds against smaller competitors in the space. What's more, the investment required to launch the new jets, approximately $235 million, is relatively small in comparison with the upfront costs for larger planes. This definitely looks like an idea that will fly.

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Fool contributor Brian Gorman is a freelance writer in Chicago. He does not own shares of any companies mentioned in this article.