- 16 Jun 2021
- Sherryn de Vos
- AvBuyer Africa Articles
Are you looking to buy or sell a pre-owned Pilatus Turboprop or Light Jet? Matt Harris asks Sacha Demelo, Scott Ducker, and Pascal Wyss for their insights on how these aircraft are performing in their regions…
With available turboprop inventory on the pre-owned aircraft market receding to 6.3% of the active fleet at the end of February (per Asset Insight’s recent data), there looks to be a tight supply for buyers in the market for a Pilatus PC-12 single-engine turboprop.
Speaking of the North American marketplace, Scott Ducker, part of the aircraft sales team at Epps Aviation specializing in Pilatus aircraft, notes that all inventories of pre-owned business aircraft have been reduced as a result of the wave of transactions that happened at the end of 2020.
“I think many of those transactions were due to the spike in interest in private travel, as opposed to travelling aboard the scheduled airlines,” he explains. “Many buyers also wanted to take advantage of the existing tax benefits in the US, before a suspected change by the new Biden Administration.”
Specifically, demand for Pilatus PC-12 for sale has strengthened since mid-2020 (the height of the COVID pandemic), says Pascal Wyss of the Pilatus Centre Southern Africa.
“The interest both in new and pre-owned Pilatus PC-12s is consistent, and we expect this to continue with the pricing on pre-owned models firming up as demand seemingly matches current pre-owned supply,” Wyss says.
“The active pre-owned PC-12 inventory has more than halved over the past few months.”
That fact is also attested to by Sacha Demelo, Sales Director at UK-based Oriens Aviation, which is an authorized dealer of Pilatus aircraft for the British Isles. “Pre-owned demand has been strong over the last six months with the PC-12 NG inventory reducing by 50%, per latest figures from JETNET,” Demelo shares.
“Much of the demand is attributed either to buyers moving up from smaller piston aircraft or new entrants into aircraft ownership. Many of the inquiries we receive are from prospects who are currently chartering but have now decided they want a solution which provides them with the operational flexibility offered by aircraft ownership.”
Overall, “there are very few pre-owned Pilatus PC-12s to pick from now,” Ducker summarizes, “and their values have gone up a little due to the firm demand and low supply.”
The Pilatus Turboprop Market
Though the supply is clearly tight across the board, the PC-12 aircraft has been popular in the Business Aviation market for just over 25 years, during which time there have been some upgrades made.
The original Pilatus PC-12 entered service at the end of 1994. Later, the PC-12/45 and PC-12/47 were introduced. Overall, according to JETNET, Pilatus built 790 units of the PC-12/45 and PC-12/47 (combined) before introducing the PC-12 NG.
Arriving on the market in 2008, the Pilatus PC-12 NG featured modified winglets, a more powerful Pratt & Whitney PT6A-67P engine (which enabled better climb performance and higher maximum cruise speed), and an upgraded flight deck based on Honeywell’s Primus Apex suite. The PC-12 NG proved even more successful than the original, and 942 units were produced before it, too, was upgraded.
Pilatus had already received certification when it announced the Pilatus PC-12 NGX in October 2019, and this time the aircraft incorporated the PT6E-67XP engine (with a 20% longer TBO, and FADEC), increased speed, updated Honeywell avionics, and improved cabin comfort.
“The low inventory has helped steer buyers towards stepping up into the new PC-12 NGX, which is an amazing continuation in the product line,” Ducker notes. “All Pilatus Dealers in the US (six companies covering the 50 states) have done well, with strong NGX demand and order backlogs.”
But, beyond the NGX, is there a particular sweet-spot in the PC-12 market currently? The answer seems to depend of the region.
From his vantage-point in the UK, Demelo says it’s the PC-12 NGs delivered between 2012 and 2016 forming the sweet spot with operators, “based on the introduction of Synthetic Vision in 2012, electric landing gear and connected flight deck in 2014, and the five-blade Hartzell propeller in 2016.
“All these upgrades helped reduce maintenance costs, increase safety, and improve the aircraft’s performance,” he explains.
Ducker also leans towards the PC-12 NG for the North American market, though he adds “used PC-12s range from $1.5m to $5.5m (new), so any interested buyer should purchase what meets their need and their budget.”
“In our local African market, most interest is currently in older PC-12 legacy models (1998-2006) in the sub-$2m mark, as well as early PC-12 NG examples (2008-2011),” Wyss reveals. “These come in the $2.6m-$3m price range, depending on the equipment and hours on the airframe and engine.”
Signs of a Pre-Owned Pilatus Light Jet Market?
Although traditionally a single-engine turboprop manufacturer, Pilatus entered the Light Jet market when its Pilatus PC-24 started delivering in 2018. Unique, in that it can operate from rough, unimproved runways, Pilatus refers to the aircraft as a ‘Super Versatile Jet’.
It has taken less than three years for Pilatus to deliver its first 100 units, though demand is such that it has been difficult for a pre-owned market to build – certainly with respect to aircraft coming to the open market.
“With the Pilatus order book full into early 2022, the demand for the PC-24 remains high,” notes Wyss. “The immediate demand is driving pre-owned sales, and we’ve seen a few transactions taking place before an aircraft reaches the open market.
“In quite a few instances, asking prices on preowned PC-24s have exceeded the retail price paid by customers,” he reveals. “According to JETNET, only 6% of the PC-24 fleet is currently on the market,” Demelo says.
“As with any new aircraft program these numbers will most likely fluctuate as more aircraft are delivered and the aircraft starts to develop a niche in the market.”
Pricing Trends in 2021?
Asked to predict pricing trends in the pre-owned Pilatus aircraft market for 2021, Demelo says that historically, the PC-12 has stood out among its competition for retaining its market value over time. Values in the range of 75% and 80% of their original selling prices 10 years after factory delivery are not uncommon.
“Due to the high demand for the aircraft, and the short supply on the pre-owned market, the aircraft continues to hold its value during these challenging times,” he notes, adding that Oriens recently sold a pre-owned early model PC-12 NG for around 10% more than what it was originally bought for.”
“From experience on recent transactions, selling prices on pre-owned aircraft have been in the region of the retail/wholesale median, and retail,” Wyss notes. “We expect this to continue as demand for both the PC-12 and PC-24 continues,” he projects.
Ducker is also confident that pre-owned values on all PC-12s should stay as strong as they always have, arguing that this is because Pilatus does not discount its new product, so used values tend to hold up better, too. “It’s a sales philosophy of selling on value versus price,” he concludes.
Scott Ducker is a Pilatus/Aircraft Sales Representative at Epps Aviation in Atlanta, Georgia, for whom he has worked since 2001.
Prior to that, he worked in product support at Pilatus Aircraft between 1995 and 2001.
He is a 5,000-hour ATP pilot, and has amassed 3,000 hours flying experience in the PC-12. He is also PC-24 type-rated.
More information from: https://eppsaviation.com
Sacha Demelo is the Sales Director at Oriens Aviation, an Authorised Pilatus Sales Centre, where he is responsible for the Pilatus PC-12 sales in the British Isles.
Most recently, Sacha successfully managed the introduction of the latest PC-12 NGX model to the UK market. Prior to joining Oriens, he spent over a decade at Bombardier in various sales roles within their Business & Commercial Aircraft divisions.
More information from www.oriensaviation.com
Pascal Wyss has amassed nearly a decade of experience working in the South African aviation industry.
He spent six years working on operations and flight support for a Charter operator which listed several Pilatus PC-12s on its AOC, and has been with Pilatus Centre Southern Africa for the past three years in a sales and marketing role.
More information from www.pilatuscentre.co.za
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