While North America continues to dominate this market, analysts predict growth could be expected in the Asia Pacific and Middle East and Africa markets.
FROM A GLOBAL PERSPECTIVE
While optimism amongst the business aircraft owner/operator community continues in Europe and North America most of this sits in the large cabin jet sector. Gulfstream’s G500 and G600 are in production full swing.
Never to be outdone, Bombardier’s sparkling new Global 7500 took to the skies with initial customer deliveries beginning in December. Dassault’s loyal customers continue to flock to the French OEM, especially for the elegant Falcon 8X and versatile Falcon 2000LXS. Dassault’s much-anticipated Falcon 6X may be a few years away, but it is positioned in the ‘widebody’ sector.
Then in the crowded super mid-size jet section the battle for space continues. While the Challenger 350, Gulfstream G280, Praetor 600 and Citation Longitude offer good value for the dollar to new aircraft buyers – they also fall out of the focus of this feature.
In this month’s World Airnews we turn our attention to what is called the ‘Light Biz Jets’ and we narrowed it down even further including only those weighing in the region of 12 000 pounds up to 13 000 pounds or 6 000 kilogrammes.
One thing is clear in this space competition is fierce and strong and those at the higher end of the Light Jet segment like the Phenom 300, the Super Versatile Pilatus PC-24 and Citation CJ4 have all been well received by customers.
Orders might not be high in North America, Latin America and Europe with activity declining over 2.5% overall and as much as 8% in the UK. But flights to Africa are up by 8% (year to date)
Specifications included are what potential owners might look at such as empty weight, maximum take-off weight, crew and passengers, cabin height, volume and most importantly baggage space. Helicopters have been left out.
According to the website www.mordorintelligence.com the market for business jets is anticipated to reach (US) $19.95 billion in 2024, registering a CAGR of 1.49% during the forecast period 2019 – 2024.
Growth in tourism is generating demand for new business jets, as charter service providers are introducing new routes and expanding their presence globally. And Due to the increasing income at a global level, business jet, especially in the light and very light catego-ry, have ceased to be the domain of only the ultra-rich. Timeshare and fractional ownership programs have also enabled people to own private jets.
Some of the factors to consider include the following:
Technological advancements in avionics systems and cabin interior products will support the growth of the business jet market.
Growth in High Net Worth Individuals is expected to generate demand for newer generation business jets.
New product launches, expansion in emerging economies, and long-term agreements are some of the major strategies adopted by major business jet OEMs.
USED AIRCRAFT VALUES AND MAINTENANCE CONDITION
Turning our attention to the used aircraft market Asset Insight’s market analysis last year based on 93 fixed-wing models and 1,662 aircraft listed for sale, revealed a 4.6% increase to the tracked inventory fleet (73 units).
Large Jets led the way with an 8.9% increase in inventory, Small Jets were next at 5%, Medium Jets increased 3%, while Turboprops posted the lowest rise at 1.8%. At year-end, sellers appeared bullish with respect to ask prices.
While a price escalation argument can continue to be made for certain Large Jets (due to the limited inventory of younger models), medium Jet sellers are presumably betting on their aircraft’s maintenance status to justify higher pricing.
And that’s bad news for the small jet category where ground was lost and so was pricing. Turboprop sellers will likely find it difficult to obtain a higher price if their asset’s maintenance status is the basis for their increase.
What follows is a short summary of some of the aircraft in the market at present. The list is by no means presented as final and might contain some slight variations of data. Readers should know that the information presented was accurate at the time of going to press. Potential buyers or sellers interested to know more should always approach their nearest distributor.
BEECHCRAFT PREMIER 1 and 1A
A light business jet designed to compete with the Cessna Citation Jet series, the Premier I was launched for commercial use in 2001 after a serial of tests with four prototypes were completed.
It can reach a maximum speed of 854 km/h (530 mph), has a length of 14.02 m (46 ft 0 in) and a height of 4.67 m (15 ft 4). This makes it perfect for a crew of two and between six to seven passengers. The Premier 1 had two predecessors the Premier IA and Premier II or Hawker 200 which fell out of the scope of this review due to its slightly heavier weight.
But with a new interior design and better systems, the cabin of the Premier 1A model is one of the biggest for a jet of this type. It has 77 cubic feet space available both internally and externally for baggage and can climb to the height of 37,000 feet (11,277 m) in 17 minutes.
Essentially the same aircraft as its predecessor, the 1A boasts improved avionics and brakes.
The swept wings on the Premier 1A are an original design from Raytheon. The unique design minimizes drag and increases cruise speed and high altitude capabilities. Although the wing was enlarged to add an additional 250 pounds of fuel than was originally planned, the Premier 1A still manages a short enough takeoff distance to be able to utilize small airports. It is powered by two Williams/Rolls-Royce FJ44-2A engines.
BEECHJET HAWKER 400 XPR
Introduced at the 2010 NBAA Convention in Atlanta Georgia, the 400XPR was an exclusive Hawker Beechcraft designed and supported upgrade that established a new factory standard in the light jet market for performance, reliability, cabin size and range at an affordable price.
The revamped aircraft featured a customised interior, a new paint scheme, Textron-designed winglets, and FJ44-4A engines. The legacy type’s Rockwell Collins Pro Line 4 avionics was later replaced with the Garmin G5000 flight deck.
With a twinjet’s range of up to 2,160nm (4,000km), improved runway and hot and high performance, this six-seat model can climb direct to FL450 in 19min at maximum take-off weight. The XPR programme came on the back of three generations of the 400 family: the late-1980s Beechjet 400, the 400A and the Hawker 400XP.
CESSNA CITATION (TEXTRON) – CITATION M2 AND CJ3
The Citation M2 jet is the ultimate combination of beauty and efficiency. It’s an entry level jet that is perfect for corporate, charter or private use.
It has added speed, range and cabin size over its predecessor without incurring midsize jet operating costs. It features a redesigned interior with excellent in-cabin technologies, updated touch-controlled avionics suited for a single pilot.
The Collins Pro Line 21 avionics suite allows a single pilot to effectively operate the CJ4. It combines category-leading technology with ergonomic enhancements and extreme user friendliness.
Features such as single point refuelling, an externally serviceable lavatory and excellent range deliver what crew and cabin passengers appreciate. It has a maximum range of 2,165 nm, a maximum cruise speed of 451 ktas, can carry up to 10 passengers, has a useful load bearing capacity of 6,950 lb and a takeoff field length of 3,410 ft.
The Citation M2’s aluminum airframe was engineered with multiple structural load paths, system redundancies and optimal aerodynamics.
The Citation CJ3 is the best choice for reliability without sacrificing productivity and comfort.
With an upgraded Intrinzic flight deck powered by Garmin G3000 this single-pilot jet is almost intuitive. The wing design innovates conventional design with a precise, computer-sculpted airfoil that maintains an uninterrupted flow of air across a greater portion of its surface, producing more lift with less drag.
CESSNA CITATION MUSTANG MODEL 510
This earlier model was the smallest and least-expensive aircraft, belonging to the Citation family at its time. Like other light jets, the Mustang is approved for single pilot operation. With four passenger seats in the cabin and seating for two in the cockpit, words like comfort and security spring to mind when trying to describe this aircraft. The Mustang is a low-wing cantilever monoplane with a tricycle retractable landing gear and two Pratt & Whitney Canada PW615F turbofan engines, mounted in pods on the rear aft fuselage.
It has the Garmin G1000 avionics package, as do most of the Cessna single-engine aircrafts.
Launched at the 2002 NBAA convention, it first flew on 23 April 2005. Production ended in 2017 after 479 aircraft were built.
CIRRUS SF50 and VISION JET GENERATION 2
Cirrus’s recently released the Vision Jet Generation 2 creating a whole new category of aircraft that is designed to be flown by the owner. Simpler to fly, easier to operate and own, the Vision Jet is truly a revolution in personal transportation. It goes higher, faster and further. Plus the exclusive Cirrus Airframe Parachute System or CAPS it sets a new standard in jet aircraft safety. For more on this lovely jet please read the February edition of World Airnews as it is featured there.
The earlier version, the Vision SF50 on the other hand is a low-wing cantilever monoplane powered by a single Williams FJ33-4A-19 turbofan, producing 1,900 lbf (8,500 N), mounted above the rear fuselage, with a V-tail and retractable tricycle landing gear.
It is made entirely of composite material, a first for a production jet. The enclosed cabin is 5.1 ft (1.56 m) wide and is 4.1 ft (1.24 m) high with room for seven. The cockpit, second and third row each seats two, and an extra seat slides between the second and third row. It targets a 300 kn (560 km/h) cruise.
With its first deliveries in December 2016 the SF50 was intended to be a step-up aircraft for pilots who had flown the Cirrus SR20, SR22 and other high-performance light aircraft. It truly is a ‘Vision Jet’ for personal use and not as a corporate or air taxi.
EMBRAER PHENOM 100 EV
Despite its many teething problems, the Phenom 100 has sold relatively well, owing to its larger cabin, which can seat six passengers, and faster 390-knot cruise speed—a good 50 knots faster than a Cessna Citation Mustang. The latest version, the 100EV that stands for Evolution cruises at 405 knots, climbs faster, and has better high/hot runway performance. There are optional features on the Phenom that you cannot get on most other aircraft in its class – like a lavatory with a solid privacy door. The engines and avionics make for attractive economics and operational simplicity.
Power comes from Pratt & Whitney PW600 series engines rated at 1,695 pounds of thrust each. They incorporate engineering and manufacturing advances that make them cheaper to build and easier to fix than engines on older light jets, such as Cessna’s CJ series. For example, mechanics can perform a midlife inspection on a PW600 without removing it from the wing, which means they can do the job in one eight-hour shift rather than over several days.
The 100’s ‘Prodigy’ glass-panel avionics system is built around the Garmin G1000 suite, which is now found on everything from piston singles to midsize jets.
The Gulfstream G100, formerly known as the IAI Astra SPX, is an Israel Aerospace Industries-manufactured twin-engine business jet, formerly produced for Gulfstream Aerospace. It is a high-performance aircraft that offers a superior combination of speed, range, performance and reliability in the mid-sized business jet category. With seating for up to eight passengers and a maximum range of over 3,000 miles, the Gulfstream G100 Astra SPX is designed for medium to long-range charters. The Astra SPX’s average cruising speed of 474 knots make it the fastest mid-sized corporate jet in the world.
Its successor the G150 fell out of the category focussed on by this feature weighing in at 6.849 kg or 15.100 lbs.
THE HONDAJET HA-420
HondaJet HA-420 is the first aircraft developed by the Honda Aircraft Company. It is a twin-engine, six-seat light business jet and is also considered a very light jet. It was designed in Japan and then developed and manufactured in Greensboro, North Carolina, United States.
Honda delivered the first customer aircraft on December 23, 2015 at its world headquarters in Greensboro, North Carolina.
Sixteen aircraft were delivered in the first three quarters of 2016 while 15 were produced in the first quarter of 2017. The annual target sits between 55 and 60 aircraft. In 2017 it finished as the year’s most delivered business jet in its category with 43 aircraft delivered around the globe.
It’s a low-wing monoplane with an unconventional structure; it has a mainly composite fuselage and an aluminium wing. The aircraft is powered by two GE Honda Aero Engines HF120 turbofans mounted on pylons above the wing. It has a retractable tricycle landing gear with both main and nose landing gear single-wheeled. Honda plans to ramp up production to 80 units per year in March 2019.
For those unfamiliar with Learjets, their name is synonymous with speed. The successor to the LearJet 29 – the Learjet 31 cuts no corners when it comes to speed, economy and performance.
With modifications to this model and the 31A this aircraft can reach a cruise speed of .81 Mach after climbing to its cruise level in just 28 minutes – way beyond the capabilities of any competing light private jet. It has great runway performance and a low fuel burn, making it a great candidate for efficient, fast private jet travel.
The Learjet 31 can carry up to eight passengers in its 17.1 foot-long cabin. Sixty-seven feet of baggage space is available. Two Garret TFE 731-2-4-3B engines provide 3,500 pounds of thrust each, giving this jet the ability to outperform the rest of the private jets in its class. It has a range of 1252 nautical miles with four passengers, and performs well even in extreme temperatures and at high altitudes.
The Learjet 31 has excellent in-flight performance. A strong point is its avionics system. The Bendix/King suite has a KFC 3100 autopilot system, complete with automatic climb and descent modes that control the jet’s flight for the best possible performance. The control board is configured to make the pilot’s job as straightforward as possible – systems and circuit breakers are grouped together by function and have small EFIS displays to summarize activity. The layout of the controls makes the systems easier to read and cuts back on clutter.
The Learjet 35 and 36 are developments of the LearJet 25 and are powered by two Garrett TFE731-2 turbofan engines. Its cabin can be arranged for six to eight passengers. The longer-range 36 has a shortened passenger area to provide more space in the aft fuselage for fuel tanks.
The Learjet 45 aircraft is a mid-size business jet and was the first all-new design since the original Learjet and significantly altered the Learjet line. Through its four primary variants – the original Model 45, the Model 45XR, Model 40 and Model 40XR – it was the Learjet division’s principal product from the 1990s until the introduction of the Model 75 variant in 2012.
The Learjet 55 was a low-wing cantilever monoplane with NASA developed winglets, the winglets gave rise to the nickname Longhorn. The aircraft has a T-tail and is powered by two Garrett TFE731 turbofans mounted each side of the rear fuselage. It has a retractable tricycle landing gear and an enclosed cabin for up to ten passengers and a cockpit for the two crew. Construction of the Learjet 55 began in April 1978 after extensive testing and work on the wing design which came, initially, from the Learjet 25. The Learjet 55 first flew on 19 April 1979.
NEXTANT 400 Xti
A modified and modernized Beechjet 400A/XP, this is Nextant Aerospace’s first product. Equipped with 3,050-pound-thrust Williams FJ44-3AP Full Authority Digital Engine Controls (FADEC) turbofan engines and a Rockwell Collins Pro Line 21 integrated avionics suite. It also has multiple aerodynamic and airframe enhancements including a streamlined, conically lofted engine cowling along with a newly designed engine beam and mounting system that is significantly stronger when compared to the original installation. The 400XT made its first test flight in March 2010 and four years later an upgraded version of the aircraft, the Nextant 400XTi, was introduced.
Following the PC-12 single turboprop success, work on the jet started in 2007 for greater range and speed, keeping the rugged airfield capability. The aircraft was introduced on 21 May 2013 and rolled out on 1 August 2014, with the maiden flight on 11 May 2015. The PC-24 received EASA and FAA type certification on 7 December 2017 and the first customer delivery was on 7 February.
The PC-24 business jet is a low-wing cantilever cabin monoplane powered by two Williams FJ44-4A turbofans, each mounted in a nacelle on the side of the rear fuselage. It has a T-tail and a retractable tricycle landing gear. The cabin has room for eight passengers and two pilots, although it is certified to fly with only one pilot. The cabin has three exits, a passenger door on the left-hand side near the front, two over wing emergency exits and a cargo door on the left-hand side at the rear.
It’s the only aircraft combining the versatility of a turboprop with the cabin size of a medium-light jet and the performance of a light jet.
The PC-24 has been engineered to be ‘off-road’ compatible from the beginning. Its outstanding short-field performance – even on unpaved runways – opens up an incredible level of mobility.
The SyberJet SJ30 is an American business jet built by SyberJet Aircraft. The SJ30 has been under development since the late 1980s and has been the subject of investment and partnership with a number of companies. The SJ30 is in the ‘light’ jet class, and has the fastest cruise speeds and longest range of any aircraft in that class.
The aircraft can seat up to six passengers plus one pilot. A unique feature of this aircraft is that it maintains a ‘sea level cabin’ (zero cabin altitude) up to 41,000 ft due to its 12 psi differential pressure thereby reducing fatigue due to high cabin altitude on long journeys.
The programme was rescued by Lockheed, who arranged a joint venture between Swearingen and Taiwanese investors as part of the offset agreement for Taiwan’s purchase of the F-16 fighters. The Sino Swearingen Aircraft Corporation was set up, with the aircraft now built at Martinsburg, West Virginia.
Although every effort has been made to make sure that the information published is accurate and up to date, World Airnews can not be held responsible for any errors at the time of going to press.