In this month’s Aircraft Comparative Analysis- we will provide information on the Hawker Beechcraft Premier IA which falls within the light business jet category. We’ll consider some of the productivity parameters including payload- range- speed and cabin size- along with its current market value. The field of study also includes the Cessna Citation CJ2+ for comparative purposes.Back to Articles
In this month’s Aircraft Comparative Analysis- we will provide information on the Hawker Beechcraft Premier IA for sale which falls within the light business jet category. We’ll consider some of the productivity parameters including payload- range- speed and cabin size- along with its current market value. The field of study also includes the Cessna Citation CJ2+ for comparative purposes.
The history of Hawker Beechcraft originates to 1994 when Raytheon merged its Beech Aircraft Corporation and Raytheon Corporate Jets units. The company headquarters is in Wichita- with maintenance and manufacturing locations worldwide. In 2006- Raytheon sold the company to a consortium of Goldman Sachs and Onex Corporation and named the company Hawker Beechcraft Corporation (HBC). 2007 marked the 75th anniversary of Beechcraft and the 60th anniversary of the Beechcraft Bonanza- which represents the longest running production of an aircraft model of all time.
In April 2012 the company defaulted on interest payments and was in breach of banking covenants- and on May 3- 2012- the company entered bankruptcy- filing voluntary petitions under Chapter 11. On October 18- 2012 negotiations with a potential buyer failed and the company has now committed to exiting bankruptcy on its own and under a new name- Beechcraft Corporation- while ceasing jet production.
Raytheon started the design of the Premier I in 1994- and the jet completed its first flight in 1998 and received FAA certification in 1999. The aircraft entered the market in 2001. The Premier I light business jet was the first all-new jet built by Raytheon Aircraft from an original design and is the first in a family of business jets which is constructed with high-strength composite- carbon fiber/epoxy honeycomb fuselage and swept aluminum wing design.
The Premier I business jet is equipped with two Williams FJ44-2A turbofan engines delivering 2-300 lbs of thrust each. There are 126 units currently in operation. On September 22- 2005- the Premier IA was certified with new cabin interior and improved systems. Today- 160 Premier IAs are currently in operation.
Chart A represents the in-operation aircraft Market Share as of December 2012 for the Premier IA (44%) and the Citation CJ2+ (56%). There are currently 361 aircraft in operation for these two models combined.
PAYLOAD & RANGE
The data contained in Table A is published in the B&CA May 2012 issue- but is also sourced from Conklin & de Decker. As we regularly state- a potential operator should focus on payload capability as a key factor. The Premier IA ‘Available payload with Maximum Fuel’ at 320 pounds has less payload capability than the Citation CJ2+ (715 lbs).
In spite of its lower available payload with maximum fuel weight- according to Conklin & de Decker- the cabin volume of the Premier IA at 315 cubic feet is 27 percent larger than that of the Citation CJ2+ aircraft (248 cubic feet)- as shown in Chart B.
Each of the Premier IAs Williams FJ44-2A engines offer a thrust rating of 2-300 pounds. The Citation CJ2+ is also powered by a pair of Williams powerplants- each with a thrust rating of 2-400 pounds.
Table B- sourced from the Aircraft Cost Calculator- shows the fuel usage of each aircraft in our field of study. The
Premier IA - at 164 gallons per hour (GPH) - uses 26 gallons per hour (or 18.8%) more fuel than the Citation CJ2+ at 138 GPH. Using data published in the May 2012 B&CA Planning and Purchasing Handbook and the August 2012 B&CA Operations Planning Guide we will compare our aircraft. The nationwide average Jet-A fuel cost in the August 2012 edition was $6.30 per gallon at press time- so for the sake of comparison we’ll chart the numbers as published.
Note: Fuel price used from this source does not represent an average price for the year.
Chart C details ‘Cost per Mile’- and compares the Premier IA to the CJ2+ factoring direct costs- and with each aircraft flying a 300nm mission with 800 pounds (four passengers) payload. The Premier IA cost at $3.63 per nautical mile is lower by 7 cents compared to the CJ2+ at $3.70.
TOTAL VARIABLE COST COMPARISONS
The ‘Total Variable Cost’- illustrated in Chart D- is defined as the cost of Fuel Expense- Maintenance Labor Expense- Scheduled Parts Expense and Miscellaneous trip expense. The total variable cost for the Premier IA at $1-173 is less than the CJ2+ at $1-190 by 1.4%.
The points in Chart E center on the Premier IA and Citation CJ2+- and draw in their preceding models- the Premier I and the CJ2 aircraft for perspective. Pricing used in the vertical axis is as published in Vref. The productivity index requires further discussion in that the factors used can be somewhat arbitrary. Productivity can be defined (and it is here) as the multiple of three factors.
1. Range with full payload and available fuel;
2. The long-range cruise speed flown to achieve that range;
3. The cabin volume available for passengers and amenities.
The result is a very large number so for the purpose of charting- each result is divided by one billion. The examples plotted are confined to the aircraft in this study. A computed curve fit on this plot would not be very tight- but when all business jets are considered the “r” squared factor would equal a number above 0.9. Others may choose different parameters- but serious business jet buyers are usually impressed with price- range- speed and cabin size.
After consideration of the Price- Range- Speed and Cabin Size- we can conclude that the Premier IA aircraft- as shown in the productivity index Chart E- is productive alongside the Citation CJ2+. The Premier IA has a larger cabin volume which many operators will value. According to Vref- a new 2012 model Premier IA is priced at $6.6m- whereas a Citation CJ2+ for the same year retails for $6.7m (as represented in our Productivity Chart). The cost per mile for both aircraft is virtually the same- whereas the variable costs are 1.4% lower for the Premier IA- although its fuel usage is 18.8% greater than for the CJ2+.
Also included in Chart E are the 2005 Premier I and 2005 Citation CJ2 price (for last year of manufacture) and productivity index values. There were no changes in the productivity index for the Premier I to the IA- but there were slight index improvements from the CJ2 to the CJ2+ (speed and range).
Table C represents the average pre-owned retail price from Vref for each aircraft. The last two columns of information show the number of aircraft in-operation- and the percentage “For Sale”- as per JETNET. It is interesting to note that with 160 aircraft inoperation today
only 8.7% (or 32) of the Premier IA fleet is currently for sale (traditionally a seller’s market). The Citation CJ2+ is also a seller’s market with 9.9% of the fleet for sale.
The Citation CJ2+ has the advantage for both take-off field length at a shorter distance (3-360 ft.) and landing distance (4-645 ft) over the Premier IA (TOFL - 3-792 ft and landing - 5-208 ft).
LOCATION BY CONTINENT
Table E- meanwhile- offers a breakdown of the location by continent for the wholly-owned Premier IA fleet. North America is home to the majority of the fleet (97 jets- or 61%)- followed by Europe with 21% (34 jets). Currently- one Premier IA aircraft is in a shared ownership- and none are in a fractional-ownership arrangement.
Within the preceding paragraphs we have touched upon several of the key attributes that business jet operators value. However- there are often other qualities such as service and support that factor in a buying decision- but which are beyond the scope of this article.
The Premier IA business jet has its advantages - so those operators in the market should find the preceding comparison of value. The aircraft is very popular and is operated by private individuals- companies- and charter operators and aircraft management companies. Our expectations are that the Premier IA will continue to do well in the pre-owned market as we await further reports of HBC exiting bankruptcy and their plan to cease jet production.
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