- 01 Sep 2021
- Mike Chase
- Jet Comparisons
How do the Embraer Praetor 500 and the Cessna Citation Latitude compare side-by-side? What are the advantages offered by each model? Mike Chase analyses the performance and productivity parameters.Back to Articles
Over the following paragraphs we’ll consider key productivity parameters for the Embraer Praetor 500 and Cessna Citation Latitude (including payload, range, speed, and cabin size) to establish which aircraft provides the better value in the Mid-Size Jet market, and for whom.
Does a longer range and greater speed drive a decision to buy a jet? What cost can buyers expect to pay for that extra performance? It’s hoped that the following comparison will help clarify...
Introduced in 2019, the Praetor 500 replaced the Legacy 450 on Embraer’s production line. Powered by twin Honeywell HTF7500E turbofans, the addition of an extra fuel tank and turbulence-reduction technology help account for the Praetor 500’s 350nm range advantage over its predecessor.
As of this writing, there were 42 wholly owned Embraer Praetor 500s in operation around the world, one in shared ownership, and 38 that are fractionally owned (46% of the fleet). North America was home to the largest share of the Praetor 500 fleet, accounting for 88% of the 81 units in operation worldwide.
The Cessna Citation Latitude has been in operation since 2014 and is powered by two Pratt & Whitney Canada PW306D1 FADEC-controlled turbofans. Fuel stored in the wings enables the Latitude to offer generous range for missions typical of jets in the Mid-Size class.
At the time of writing there were 154 wholly owned Citation Latitudes in operation worldwide, with a further six in shared ownership arrangements and 191 fractionally owned (54% of the entire fleet). With 351 Citation Latitudes in operation around the world, North America had the largest fleet percentage (75%) followed by Europe (14%), then Asia (8%).
When comparing business jets, an important area for potential operators to focus on is payload capability, and especially the ‘Available Payload with Maximum Fuel’.
Table A shows the Embraer Praetor 500’s ‘Available Payload with Maximum Fuel’ to be 1,610lbs and the Cessna Citation Latitude’s to be 1,000lbs.
Table A - Embraer Praetor 500 vs Cessna Citation Latitude Payload Comparison
Sourced from JETNET and B&CA and depicted in Chart A, the cabin height of the Embraer Praetor 500 and Cessna Citation Latitude is the same (6.0ft).
However, Praetor 500 offers slightly more cabin width (6.8ft vs 6.4ft). Not depicted in the cross-section, the Praetor 500 also provides more cabin length (17.4ft vs 15.9ft, considering ‘Main Seating’ area) and has more overall cabin volume (705cu.ft versus 587cu.ft).
In terms of luggage volume, the Praetor 500 provides 110cu.ft external and 40cu.ft internal space, whereas the Latitude provides 100cu.ft externally and 27cu.ft internally.
Chart A - Embraer Praetor 500 vs Cessna Citation Latitude Cabin Comparison
Using Wichita, Kansas, as the start point, Chart B shows the Embraer Praetor 500 to have a range of 3,340nm (carrying four passengers and available fuel), which is 662nm more than the Citation Latitude (2,678nm).
Note: For business jets, ‘Four Pax Range’ represents the maximum IFR range at long range cruise. The NBAA IFR fuel reserve calculation is for a 200nm alternate for FAR Part 25 and 100nm alternate for FAR Part 23. This range does not include winds aloft or any other weather-related obstacles.
Chart B - Embraer Praetor 500 vs Cessna Citation Latitude Range Comparison
As mentioned, the Embraer Praetor 500 has two Honeywell HTF7500L engines providing 6,540lbst each, and burning 241 gallons/hour of fuel. In comparison, the Citation Latitude uses two Pratt & Whitney Canada PW306D1 engines providing 5,907lbst each, and burning 246 gal/hr of fuel.
Chart C details ‘Cost per Mile’ of the Embraer Praetor 500 and Cessna Citation Latitude factoring direct costs and with both aircraft flying a 1,000nm mission with an 800lbs (four passengers) payload. This data is sourced from JETNET.
The Embraer Praetor 500 posts a lower cost per mile at $6.16 per nautical mile than the Citation Latitude ($6.67 per nautical mile).
Chart C - Embraer Praetor 500 vs Cessna Citation Latitude Cost Per Mile Comparison
The ‘Variable Cost’, illustrated in Chart D, is defined as the estimated cost of fuel expense, maintenance labor expense, scheduled parts expense, and miscellaneous trip expense (e.g. hangar, crew and catering), per JETNET.
These costs DO NOT represent a direct source into every flight department and their trip support expenses. For comparative purposes, the costs presented are the relative differences, not the actual differences since these costs may vary from one flight department to another.
The Embraer Praetor 500 ($1,839/hr) has the lower variable cost compared to the Citation Latitude ($1,984/hr).
Chart D - Embraer Praetor 500 vs Cessna Citation Latitude Variable Cost Comparison
Table B contains the new 2023 prices, as reported in B&CA (June 2023), for the Embraer Praetor 500 and the Citation Latitude ($18.995m and $19.775m, respectively).
Also, listed are the long-range cruise speed and range numbers (also reported in B&CA), and the number of aircraft in-operation, the fleet percentage for sale, and the average sold monthly over the past 12 months (per JETNET data).
At the time of writing, the Embraer Praetor 500 had one aircraft ‘for sale’ on the pre-owned aircraft market (representing 1.2% of the fleet). By comparison, there were three Citation Latitudes ‘for sale’. The average number of used transactions (units sold) per month over the previous 12 months was two for the Embraer Praetor 500 and three for the Citation Latitude.
Table B - Embraer Praetor 500 vs Cessna Citation Latitude Market Comparison
As mentioned, at the time of writing there was one 2022-model Embraer Praetor 500 available for sale on the used aircraft market with an asking price of $21.375m.
By comparison, there were three Citation Latitudes for sale with one 2019 model showing an asking price of $18.195m. The other two invited prospective buyers to ‘make an offer’ or inquire about the price.
While each aircraft serial number is unique, the Airframe Total Time (AFTT) and age/condition will cause great variation in the price of a specific aircraft – even between two aircraft from the same year of manufacture. The final negotiated price remains to be decided between the seller and buyer, ultimately, before the sale of an aircraft is completed.
Aircraft that are owned and operated by businesses are often depreciable for income tax purposes under the Modified Accelerated Cost Recovery System (MACRS). Under MACRS, taxpayers can use accelerated depreciation of assets by taking a greater percentage of the deductions during the first few years of the applicable recovery period.
In certain cases, aircraft may not qualify under the MACRS system and must be depreciated under the less favorable Alternative Depreciation System (ADS), based on a straight-line method meaning that equal deductions are taken during each year of the applicable recovery period. In most cases, recovery periods under ADS are longer than recovery periods available under MACRS.
There are a variety of factors that taxpayers must consider in determining if an aircraft may be depreciated, and, if so, the correct depreciation method and recovery period that should be utilized.
For example, aircraft used in charter service (Part 135) are normally depreciated under MACRS over a seven-year recovery period, or under ADS using a twelve-year recovery period.
Aircraft used for qualified business purposes, such as Part 91 business use flights, are generally depreciated under MACRS over a period of five years or by using ADS with a seven-year recovery period. There are certain uses of the aircraft, such as non-business flights, that may have an impact on the allowable depreciation deduction available in any given year.
The US enacted the 2017 Tax Cuts & Jobs Act into law on December 22, 2017. Under the Act, taxpayers may be able to deduct up to 100% of the cost of a new or pre-owned aircraft purchased and placed in service before January 1, 2023.
Beginning January 1, 2023, that deduction was reduced to 80%. Nevertheless, ‘Transportation Property’ described in the Internal Revenue Code (IRC) §168(k)(2)(B) and ‘Certain Aircraft’ described in IRC §168(k)(2)(C) will have a one-year delay in the phasedown.
Thus, such property may still be eligible for 100% bonus depreciation if placed into service in 2023.
This 100% expense provision is a huge bonus for aircraft owners and operators. The Act decreases the percentage available each year by 20% to depreciate qualified business jets until December 31, 2026 when it is due to end.
Tables C and D (below) depict examples of using the MACRS schedule for a 2023-model Embraer Praetor 500 and Cessna Citation Latitude, respectively, in private (Part 91) and charter (Part 135) operations over five- and seven-year periods. The price is as published by B&CA at the time of writing.
Embraer Praetor 500 vs Cessna Citation Latitude MACRS Tax Depreciation Samples
The points in Chart E are centered on the same aircraft. Pricing used in the horizontal axis is as published in B&CA. The productivity index requires further discussion since factors used can be somewhat arbitrary. Productivity can be defined (and it is here) as the multiple of three factors:
1. Four Passenger Range (nm) with available fuel.
2. The long-range cruise speed flown to achieve that range.
3. The cabin volume available for passengers and amenities.
Others may choose different parameters, but serious business aircraft buyers are usually impressed with price, range, speed, and cabin size.
Chart E - Embraer Praetor 500 vs Cessna Citation Latitude Productivity Comparison
Based on the data sourced, the Embraer Praetor 500 is the more productive of the two jets in this comparison (as per Chart E), with additional range, ‘Available Payload with Maximum Fuel’, cabin volume and a slightly lower operating cost.
While the 2023 prices show the Praetor 500 to have a lower (factory new) purchase price, with both jets being very popular with fractional ownership program providers the actual price could be very different after fleet order discounts are applied.
Similarly, it is difficult to compare how well the pre-owned market values of the two aircraft hold up given that the Praetor 500 is still a fairly new model on the market with less time to build a significant inventory of used jets for sale.
It would be worthwhile for buyers to weigh the capabilities of each model very carefully against their specific mission need. There are several other mission-specific attributes that individual business jet operators value differently, which are beyond the scope of this analysis, including airport performance, terminal area performance and time-to-climb.
Cabin comfort, avionics and other aspects of the flying/in-flight experience can also impact a buying decision one way or another.
Moreover, performance parameters are a part of a wider assessment of the overall ownership experience that includes how extensive an aircraft’s maintenance support network is, AOG response time, accessibility to parts, and more.
Ultimately, there is plenty for the prospective buyer to consider when deciding which aircraft is better suited to their needs. Both business jets should continue to fare well on the new and pre- owned markets for the foreseeable future.