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Cessna Citation X/Sovereign: Under the Spotlight

A review of used aircraft sales and transactions at the top end of the Citation jet family

Jim Becker   |   9th December 2015
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Jim Becker Jim Becker

James Becker is an American Society of Appraisers (ASA) Accredited Senior Appraiser for Elliott...
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This month Elliott Aviation’s James Becker reviews the two larger used Citation jets for sale - the Cessna's Citation Sovereign and the Citation X. Both aircraft were successful as new models and have recently been replaced with their respective “Plus” derivatives. So how do they fare on today’s used aircraft market?

Generally speaking, when an aircraft is taken out of production, updated, and/or replaced with a new model, the used aircraft market for that model goes through an adjustment period. The Citation X and Sovereign are both excellent aircraft in their own right, so how has their value held up in recent months with the arrival of the Citation X+ and Sovereign+?

The following gives an overview as to what has been happening in these aircraft’s respective markets.

Citation Sovereign

Well over 300 Citation Sovereigns were produced between 2004 and 2013. This popular aircraft is powered by Pratt & Whitney PW306C engines and equipped with Honeywell Primus avionics. With seating for 8 to 12 passengers and the ability to operate out of short runways, its versatility is very impressive.

The used market for the Cessna Citation Sovereign has seen some changes over the last 24 months. High inventory levels and relatively low activity in 2013 presented buyers with some excellent acquisition opportunities.

Cessna Citation Sovereign jets for sale
Used inventory dropped by almost 50% during the first half of 2014 which helped prices to stabilize. Since then, however, inventory levels have been creeping up and prices are down 5-10% since this time last year. Today, pricing for the early model Sovereigns begins in the $6m range.

Cessna Citation Sovereign jet transactions


Cessna Citation Sovereign+


There are now about 50 Sovereign+ aircraft in operation since production began in 2013. The major changes over the original Sovereign include updated Pratt and Whitney PW306D engines, G5000 Avionics and winglets. The Sovereign+ is still a relatively new model and there have not been enough transactions to establish a pre-owned market for this model just yet.

Cessna Citation X

The Citation X was developed in the early 1990s and was produced from 1996 through 2012. It is powered by Rolls-Royce AE3007-C, or -C1 engines and features a highly swept wing, sacrificing short-field capability for speed. It is equipped with Honeywell avionics up front and is typically found with a double club seating configuration in the cabin.

The resale market for Citations Xs has been anything but stable over the last few years. As you can see in our charts, transaction activity has varied greatly from quarter-to-quarter. And while the Citation X pre-owned inventory level was stable from late 2014 into the first half of 2015, the overall number of Citation Xs for sale has doubled from 2012.

Cessna Citation X jets for sale
Cessna Citation X jet transactions
Currently, the majority of Citation X aircraft on the market are late 1990s and early 2000s vintage aircraft. Prices for higher-time late 1990s aircraft now start in the $3m-range and go up from there.

Cessna Citation X+

The Citation X+ entered production in 2014 and incorporates a few major changes from the original X-model. In addition to the engines being upgraded to AE3007C2s and the avionics being upgraded to the G5000 system, the fuselage was stretched 15 inches. Winglets, an aftermarket option for earlier Citation Xs, are standard on the X+ and help it achieve a maximum speed of Mach 0.935, making it the joint-fastest civil aircraft available alongside the Gulfstream G650 ultra long range model.

Like the Sovereign+, there just haven’t been enough pre-owned sales of X+ aircraft to establish a used market, but asking prices for the few that are currently on the market are in the $19m-range.

Summary

As you can see, there are plenty of samples available on the used aircraft market for the original Citation X and Sovereign models. A buyer should factor a variety of considerations into their selection process, including airframe time, upgrades and modifications with the pending NextGen requirements and more. Sellers, meanwhile, should scrutinize the competition on the market, and price their models realistically.

Read more Market Spotlight articles from James Becker on AvBuyer.

Looking for Market Insight? Look no further...


Read more about: Used Aircraft Sales Trends | Cessna Citation Sovereign | Cessna Citation X

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