- 01 Jan 2023
- Mike Chase
- Jet Comparisons
How do the HondaJet Elite S and the Embraer Phenom 100EV 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 HondaJet Elite S and Embraer Phenom 100EV (including payload, range, speed, and cabin size) to establish which aircraft provides the better value in the Entry Level/Light Jet market.
Does a longer range and greater speed drive a buyer’s decision? What price would buyers be prepared to pay for that performance? It is hoped that the following jet comparison will help clarify.
Deliveries of the HondaJet Elite S Light Jet commenced in 2021 when it replaced the HondaJet Elite on the production line (which was itself introduced in 2019 as an upgrade on the original HondaJet).
Offering a 1,265nm range with four passengers and a pilot aboard, the Elite S model offers some notable upgrades on the previous models, including 200lbs increased gross weight, upgrades to the avionics software, and incorporation of FAA Data Comm, Aircraft Communications Addressing and Reporting System, and Advanced Steering Augmentation System.
At the time of writing, there were 20 wholly-owned HondaJet Elite S business jets in operation worldwide and a further 12 in fractional ownership (giving a total fleet of 32 units in operation). By continent, North America was home to 85% of the fleet, followed by Europe (10%).
The Embraer Phenom 100EV has been in production since 2017 when it replaced the Phenom 100E (itself an updated version of the popular Phenom 100 Entry Level Jet). The upgrades introduced with the Phenom 100EV focused on performance enhancement.
The Prodigy Touch flight deck that is standard on the Phenom 100EV was first introduced on the Phenom 300 Light Jet, and is based on the popular Garmin G3000 suite. It offers larger high-definition displays, split-screen capability, and a new weather radar.
Meanwhile, the powerplants were upgraded to a pair of Pratt & Whitney Canada’s PW617F1-E engines allowing more speed and thrust, more range, and a faster rate of climb.
At the time of writing, there were 57 Phenom 100EV business jets in operation worldwide, all of which were wholly- owned. By continent, North America had 54% of the fleet, followed by South America (19%), and Asia (11%).
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 ‘Available Payload with Maximum Fuel’ to be 651lbs for the HondaJet Elite S and 647lbs for the Embraer Phenom 100 EV – a negligible difference.
Table A HondaJet Elite S vs Embraer Phenom 100EV Payload Comparison
As shown in Chart A, the cabin height of the HondaJet Elite S is 4.8ft, which is slightly less than the Embraer Phenom 100EV (4.9ft). The Phenom 100EV also offers slightly more cabin width (5.1ft vs 5ft). However, the HondaJet Elite S has just over a foot more cabin length than the Phenom 100EV (12.1ft vs 11ft) and offers the larger overall cabin volume (225cu.ft versus 212cu.ft).
Chart A HondaJet Elite S vs Embraer Phenom 100EV Cabin Comparison
Moreover, the HondaJet Elite S provides slightly more external luggage volume (66cu.ft) than the Phenom 100EV (60cu.ft), while the Phenom 100EV offers 10cu.ft. of internal luggage space.
Using Wichita, Kansas as the start point, Chart B, shows the HondaJet Elite S with a range of 1,265nm with four passengers and available fuel, which is 193nm more than the Embraer Phenom 100EV at 1,092nm.
Chart B HondaJet Elite S vs Embraer Phenom 100EV Range Comparison
Note: For business jets, ‘Four Pax Range’ represents the maximum IFR range of the aircraft 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.
The HondaJet Elite S is powered by two GE Honda HF-120-H1A engines providing 2,050lbst each. These burn 110 gallons of fuel/hour. In comparison, the Embraer Phenom 100EV utilizes a pair of Pratt & Whitney Canada 617F1-E engines providing 1,730lbst each and burning 105 gal/hr of fuel.
Chart C details the ‘Cost per Mile’ of the HondaJet Elite S and the Embraer Phenom 100EV, factoring direct costs and with each aircraft flying a 1,000nm mission with an 800lbs (four passengers) payload.
The HondaJet Elite S provides the lowest cost per nautical mile ($3.70), which is 8.2% less to operate than the Embraer Phenom 100EV ($4.03/nautical mile).
Chart C HondaJet Elite S vs Embraer Phenom 100EV 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).
These 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 may vary from one flight department to another.
The HondaJet Elite S ($1,054/hr) has a higher variable cost than the Embraer Phenom 100EV ($971/hr), a difference of $83 (8.5%).
Chart D HondaJet Elite S vs Embraer Phenom 100EV Variable Cost Comparison
Table B contains the 2022 prices for a new HondaJet Elite S and the Embraer Phenom 100EV ($5.75m and $4.495m, respectively), per B&CA. That’s a difference of $1.255m. Also listed are the long-range cruise speed and range numbers (per B&CA), while the number of aircraft in-operation, the percentage for sale, and average sold are from JETNET.
At the time of writing, the HondaJet Elite S had one aircraft available ‘for sale’ on the used aircraft market (representing 3.1% of the fleet), whereas the Phenom 100EV had three available ‘for sale’, representing 5.3% of the fleet.
The average number of new and used transactions (units sold) per month over the previous 12 months was two for the HondaJet Elite S and one for the Phenom 100EV.
Table B HondaJet Elite S vs Embraer Phenom 100EV Market Comparison Table
As mentioned, at the time of writing there was one 2021-model HondaJet Elite S available for sale on the used aircraft market with an asking price of $6.995m.
Meanwhile, there were three Phenom 100EVs for sale. One (a 2018 model) was showing an asking price of $4.3m, while the other two invited inquiries.
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 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 is 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 (i.e., 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% expensing provision is a huge bonus for aircraft owners and operators. After December 31, 2022 the Act decreases the percentage available each year by 20% to depreciate qualified business jets until December 31, 2026.
Table C depicts an example of using the MACRS schedule for a 2022- model HondaJet Elite S 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.
Table C HondaJet Elite S Sample MACRS Tax Depreciation Schedule
Table D depicts an example of using the MACRS schedule for a 2022-edition Embraer Phenom 100EV in private (Part 91) and charter (Part 135) operations over five- and seven-year periods. The price is per B&CA.
Table D Embraer Phenom 100EV Sample MACRS Tax Depreciation Schedule
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 HondaJet Elite S vs Embraer Phenom 100EV Productivity Comparison
The HondaJet Elite S Light Jet offers a longer range than the Embraer Phenom 100EV Entry-Level Jet, but the Phenom 100EV covers distance more quickly with a higher long-range cruise speed.
The difference in ‘Available Payload with Maximum Fuel’ is nominal, though the HondaJet Elite S cabin volume is slightly higher. With both aircraft able to seat seven passengers, the HondaJet provides valuable additional space for its cabin occupants.
How valuable that additional comfort and longer range is to a prospective buyer will be put to the test with the higher purchase price of the HondaJet Elite S ($5.750m vs $4.495m for a new 2022 model), and higher variable cost per hour.
These two jets represent the threshold between the Entry Level Jet category and Light Jet category. The key difference appears to be the additional range offered by the Light Jet model. Each model offers different advantages to prospective buyers who should weigh their mission needs and operating budget very carefully.
Within these paragraphs we have touched upon several of the attributes that business jet operators value, although there are other qualities, such as airport performance, terminal area performance and time-to-climb that might factor in a buying decision.
Ultimately, jets in this comparison offer great value in the market today and should continue to do well in the new and pre-owned markets for the foreseeable future.