- 28 Apr 2022
- Felipe Reisch
- AvBuyer Africa Articles
In the past, private jets within Africa have been the domain of the ultra-wealthy and large corporations. But in the last two years, interest in private jets has piqued. Sherryn de Vos examines the market, including Southern Africa’s most popular private jets.
Aviation companies across the Southern Africa region have seen interest grow not only for private charters but from those wishing to purchase private jets for corporate and personal use.
Covid-related lockdowns spurred unprecedented shutdowns of commercial airline routes, leaving travellers stranded and unable to respond to business-related travel requirements. With popular airlines struggling to deliver an adequate level of service to frequent fliers, and some ceasing operations altogether, eyes are turning to the private travel sector.
Although corporate jets are far from “flying off the shelves” in Southern Africa, there’s certainly been an increase in sales and interest.
Before reviewing the most popular corporate jets in Southern Africa, however, it’s important to consider how to choose the right corporate jet to buy.
What are the Key Considerations When Choosing an Aircraft?
Choosing the ideal aircraft for your travel needs depends on the type of travel you’ll be doing. For example, what non-stop range does a typical flight require? How many passengers will you typically carry on a trip? How much (and what type of) luggage do you need to carry onboard – and do you need to access it in flight?
Additional factors come into play, such as where you plan to base the aircraft, and the airports you will fly to, since the aircraft will have a minimum runway length it can operate into and out of. For some airports, there are maximum weights the runways can facilitate – so an aircraft’s maximum take-off and landing weight will be important to consider, too.
Whilst most Johannesburg’s airports can accommodate business jets of all sizes, for example, you might start struggling to find somewhere able to facilitate a larger private jet in the more remote locations, where maintenance, FBO support, and hangarage can also be sporadic.
Once you have a clear idea of your needs, however, it’s worth taking a look at what the most popular jets are within the region, and how their capability contributes to their popularity. Following, Agnes Phillips, Manager of Global Sales at NAC provides a list of her most popular jets.
The Hawker 4000, originally known as the Hawker Horizon, is a Super Mid-size business jet produced by Hawker Beechcraft between 2008 and 2012, and is the largest aircraft in the Hawker family featuring an all-composite fuselage and swept aluminium wing design.
It is highly popular with air-taxi/air charter companies and corporate/private users alike, and is suitable for most airports and runways within the Southern Africa region. The Hawker 4000 is ideal for short trips, striking a good balance between comfort, performance, and operating costs.
Boasting an NBAA IFR range of 3,100nm and a speed of Mach 0.82, the Hawker 4000 can link private flyers from Southern Africa with West and East Africa.
Inside, the Hawker 4000 accommodates two crew and is typically configured for between seven and nine passengers.
Hawker 900XP/Hawker 800XP
Equally popular are the slightly smaller Hawker 900XP and Hawker 800XP Mid-size Jets. Noteworthy of both jets is the spacious cabin that typically can fit up to eight passengers in comfort.
With a maximum cruise speed of 448 knots and a range of 2,572nm, one of the Hawker 800XP’s strongest selling points is its ability to take off from runways much shorter than are typical for private jet in its class. In fact, at sea level just 5,032 feet of runway is required.
The Hawker 800XP and Hawker 900XP are both capable of completing transcontinental and international flights as needed, and each boasts notable short range capability.
Meanwhile, the Hawker 900XP offers improved fuel efficiency, aerodynamics, and performance capabilities over the Hawker 800XP. Updated winglets also improve hot-and-high performance, range, and take-off distance.
Embraer Phenom 300
The Embraer Phenom 300 is an aircraft which encompasses style with substance and ergonomic design. It boasts luxury finishes to make for an incredibly comfortable and relaxing environment.
Categorized as a Light Jet, the Phenom 300 can utilize shorter runways exceeding most other jets' capabilities, making it highly versatile for most regions.
Meanwhile, the cockpit offers a state-of-the-art avionics suite. There’s a good reason why the Phenom 300, and subsequently the upgraded 300E and 300EV versions have been the most popular aircraft worldwide in terms of units delivered by Embraer year-after-year for nearly a decade.
The Phenom 300 can maintain a 6,600ft cabin altitude at 45,000ft cruise altitude, and provides a range of over 2,000nm, making it a good option for Light Jet operators in Southern Africa.
Cessna Citation CJ Family
The Cessna CitationJet Family and Citation M2 are Light Jets built by Cessna and, being some of the most popular business jets in the sky, are some of the most frequent and easily recognized.
Private travellers will appreciate the versatility, cost-efficiency, and quality paired with modern technologies and luxurious interior. They typically offer space for two crew and five or six passengers, and are ideally suited for smaller airports and runways.
Perfect for economical short-range trips that last a little over an hour, Cessna’s CitationJet family and Citation M2 offer and a ranges of between 1,000-2,000nm, depending on the model.
South African Sales Versus Global Sales
According to Phillips, although there is growing interest in this particular market, pre-owned business jet inventory is extremely limited internationally. “There is a worldwide shortage of inventory, artificially inflating the prices of these pre-owned aircraft.
“We have constant requests for any and all of these jets… [while traditionally] the older aircraft are less desirable because their systems are outdated and the costs of upgrades are much higher, today, even the older machines appear to be moving – albeit at a slower pace.”
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