Pre-Owned Market Review: Pressurized Single-Engine Turboprops

How competitive is the pre-owned pressurized single-engine turboprop market, who are the key players and what sales trends can be seen in this segment? René Armas Maes assesses the marketplace...

René Armas Maes  |  10th June 2024
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    René Armas Maes
    René Armas Maes

    René Armas Maes, Vice President, Commercial, Jet Link International LLC, is an international...

    Pilatus PC-12 above the clouds

    The pre-owned pressurized single-engine turboprop market is a vibrant place, offering several sophisticated aircraft models aimed at a variety of mission needs. Specifically covered in this review are the pressurized, in-production models that are widely available on the used aircraft market.

    By benchmarking current inventories and (since the models are all still in production) capturing new aircraft sales in this segment, we get a better understanding of how the marketplace is performing, now and historically.

    The goal is twofold: Identify the market gaps that future OEM activity could address through product upgrades; and offer a snapshot for would-be buyers of pre-owned, pressurized single-engine turboprop models.

    While displaying a wider range of out-of-production pre-owned models is beyond the scope of this article, it’s hoped that the featured aircraft will provide a good starting point for buyers to broaden their search and examining other pre-owned models with similar capabilities in the pre-owned market.

    Without further ado, let’s get started... 

    Single-Engine Turboprop Inventory Levels & Asking Prices

    Pilatus PC-12, PC-12 NG, PC-12 NGXAccording to AMSTAT, as of April 2024 the active Pilatus PC-12 fleet consisted of 1,946 aircraft. The percentage available for sale or lease stood at 4.5%.

    Prices on the pre-owned market ranged between $2.5m and $7.8m, depending on aircraft vintage, hours flown, maintenance/upgrade requirements, and previous type of operation (Part 91, Part 91k, Part 135 or medevac, for example).

    Piper Meridian, M500 and M600: There were 949 Piper Meridian, M500 and M600 aircraft in operation at the time of writing, with 7.5% of the fleet available for sale or lease, per AMSTAT. Prices ranged from $389k to $3.9m.

    Daher 850 & 900-Series: Meanwhile, a further 605 pre-owned aircraft from the Daher 850/900-series were in operation worldwide, with 6.3% of the fleet available for sale or lease. Prices ranged between $1.6m to $4.5m.

    Chart A shows pre-owned market share for the three main pressurized single-engine turboprop producers between the years 2019 and 2023 (per AMSTAT). While Pilatus is the market leader, followed by Daher, both have seen small market share decreases over the timeframe, while Piper has seen an increase in its market share – particularly in 2022-2023.

    With the new Piper M700 set to come to market offering performance enhancements over the M600, it will be interesting to see how Piper’s overall market share is impacted in the coming years.

    Epic Aircraft delivers its E1000GX in this segment, too, though the numbers of aircraft in operation are small at this time (50 units at the time of writing). It will be worth watching what impact Epic has on market share, and how the E1000GX will perform on the pre-owned market as the numbers grow.

    The 333ktas GX model competes more directly with the TBM 900-series and Piper M-series models.

    New Pressurized Single-Engine Turboprop Shipments, By OEM

    According to the General Aviation Manufacturers Association (GAMA), new aircraft shipments within the pressurized single-engine turboprop segment averaged 205 units annually between 2019 and 2023. Indeed, between Pilatus, Piper and Daher, a positive Compound Annual Growth Rate (CAGR) of 4.1% can be found.

    As Chart B reveals, over the five-year period Pilatus has maintained an average of 42.5% new units market share, while Piper and Daher have held an average 32.7% and 24.7%, respectively.

    Key Technical Specifications

    Following, we will focus on the top-of-the-line products of the leading pressurized Single-Engine Turboprop OEMs, including the Pilatus PC-12 NGX, Daher TBM 960, Piper M600/SLS (soon to be displaced by the M700), Epic E1000 GX and the upcoming Beechcraft Denali, which many believe could be a game changer in this segment, competing with Pilatus for market share at the top-end of the category.

    Chart C shows the Beechcraft Denali offers the largest cabin volume (cubic feet) but less range than the Pilatus PC-12 NGX and Daher’s TBM 960. Conversely, Daher’s TBM 960 offers more range than the Piper M600/SLS and Epic E1000GX but provides a lower cabin volume.

    Balanced Field Length vs. Range Comparison

    Of course, part of the appeal of turboprops is their ability to operate into and out of shorter runways, including those that are unpaved.

    In a Balanced Field Length (BFL) versus Range comparison, Chart D shows the Pilatus PC-12 NGX offers the second lowest BFL (behind the Epic E1000 GX) while offering the greatest range. When it arrives on the market, the Denali will offer the third highest range, but also the highest BFL.

    In Summary

    Without any doubt, the Pilatus PC-12 shows in this analysis as the most versatile aircraft in its segment. Certification delays are costly, and in the case of the Denali it remains to be seen as to what kind of a market share Beechcraft will be able to prise away from Pilatus which is very well established.

    Beechcraft has an important game ahead of it and will need to price its product correctly. One can attribute a few advantages to the Denali (9% lower hourly fuel consumption, largest cabin volume, and a more powerful engine), but the Pilatus PC-12 NGX still looks like it will offer plenty of advantages of its own at a potentially lower price.

    Particularly relevant to the pre-owned marketplace, Pilatus through its own, or third party upgrade programs (such as the seven-blade propeller upgrade package) can see significant performance enhancements above and beyond what is depicted here.

    We noted previously that the Piper M700 is due to enter the market imminently. Once deliveries begin in earnest, it will be interesting to see whether most of the buyers are stepping up from the M500/M600, and if so, how an influx of pre-owned M500s and M600s will affect values in the pre-owned Piper turboprop market.

    Of course, Daher is competitive with Piper, and it will be interesting to see if the arrival of the M700, plus emerging competition from Epic Aircraft, will provoke a response from the French OEM.

    If history sets any kind of precedent, expect an announcement of a TBM 970 or 980 that can enter the market fairly quickly, again with a potential impact on existing pre-owned TBM models once it does.

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    René Armas Maes

    René Armas Maes

    Editor, Buyer Strategy & Finance

    René Armas Maes, Vice President, Commercial, Jet Link International LLC, is an international aviation consultant and experienced C-Level professional. He has built a successful track record for developing and delivering Business Aviation strategies for Fortune 500 companies, Venture Capital firms, and HNWIs.

    René is a regular columnist for Bloomberg (financial), America Economia (business) and a speaker at aviation conferences worldwide.



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