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AIRCRAFT COMPARATIVE ANALYSIS - LEARJET 60

In this month’s Aircraft Comparative Analysis- we provide information on a selection of pre-owned business jets in the $11 to $14-million range for the purpose of valuing the preowned Bombardier Learjet 60 business jet aircraft. Can a Learjet 60 still successfully compete against aircraft with greater cabin volume? While looking to address that question- we’ll consider the productivity parameters - payload/range- speed- cabin size ...

Mike Chase   |   1st June 2008
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Bombardier Learjet 60
Pre-Owned aircraft comparative analysis.


In this month’s Aircraft Comparative Analysis- we provide information on a selection of pre-owned business jets in the $11 to $14-million range for the purpose of valuing the preowned Bombardier Learjet 60 business jet aircraft. Can a Learjet 60 still successfully compete against aircraft with greater cabin volume? While looking to address that question- we’ll consider the productivity parameters - payload/range- speed- cabin size and cover current and projected market values. The field compared to the Learjet 60 in this study includes the Hawker 800XP and Citation VIl.

BRIEF HISTORY
The Learjet 60 was announced in October 1990 as the replacement for the mid-size Model 55C- from which it is derived. A proof of concept airframe flew for the first time on 18 October 1990 powered by one Garrett TFE331-3A and one PW305 engine. The first twin PW305-powered Learjet 60 made its first flight from Mid-Continent Airport- Wichita- on 13 June 1991- and certification and early deliveries were planned for the end of 1992.

The Model 60 is the largest of the Learjet family and incorporates new fuel-efficient engines- a fuselage 0.07m wider and stretched by 1.43m- a 'glass cockpit'- 'steer by wire' nose wheel- and an optional higher MTOW of 10-478kg. Thrust reversers and single-point refueling are also standard equipment- and the aircraft features a full galley- together with an aft toilet. By mid-1991- Learjet claimed to have sold the first full year's production to customers in seven different countries.

Today- there are 331 Learjet 60 aircraft inoperation. The Learjet 60 currently is third on the list of the most popular Learjet models in terms of deliveries to owners/operators worldwide. The Lear 35 is first with 588 deliveries followed by the Lear 25 at 362.

PAYLOADS AND RANGES
The data contained in Table A (top left) looking at Payloads and Ranges of the Learjet 60 and its comparative aircraft- the Hawker 800XP and Citation VII is published in the B&CA- May 2008 issue. Additionally- some of the data is courtesy of Conklin & de Decker. As we pointed out in last month’s aviation article- a potential operator should focus on payload capability. From the numbers printed in Table A- you will see that the Learjet 60 available payload with max fuel in pounds ranks lower than the other competitive aircraft shown in the table.

CABIN VOLUMES
The cabin volume of the Learjet 60 is 453 cubic feet. The “Cabin Volumes” illustrated within Chart A (left) are provided by Conklin & de Decker. The Learjet 60 cabin volume at 453 cubic feet is greater than the Citation VII by 3.4% but a 1/3 less in cabin size when compared to the Hawker 800XP aircraft for sale.

POWERPLANT DETAILS
As mentioned above- the Learjet 60 has two PW305A engines- each providing 4-600 pounds of thrust. The other aircraft in this comparison have engines that are powered by Honeywell and the thrust ranges from 4-080 lbs (Citation VII) to 4-660 lbs (Hawker 800XP) per engine.

Using data published in the May 2008 B&CA Planning and Purchasing Handbook and the August 2007 B&CA Operations Planning Guide we will compare our three aircraft. The cost of Jet A fuel used in our source publications was $4.69- so for the sake of comparison we’ll chart the numbers as published.

COST PER MILE COMPARISONS
The Cost per Mile chart (Chart B- left) compares the Learjet 60 to its competition using direct costs flying a 1-000nm mission with 800 pounds (four passengers) payload. The Learjet 60- with a long range cruise at an average of 423 knots (and the faster aircraft in the group) shows the lowest number in cost per mile comparisons at $3.41 per nautical mile. That’s 9.1% less expensive to operate than a Hawker 800XP at $3.75 per nm- and 23.7% less than the Citation VII at $4.47 per nm both flying the same mission profile.

TOTAL VARIABLE COST COMPARISONS
The “Total Variable Costs” - as illustrated in Chart C (top right) - is defined as the cost of Fuel Expense- Maintenance Labor Expense- Scheduled Parts Cost- and miscellaneous trip expenses. The total variable cost is a very impressive number for the Learjet 60 at $1-471 per hour and the lowest cost compared to the other aircraft – the Hawker 800XP at $1-549 per hour and the Citation VII at $1-925 per hour.

PRODUCTIVITY COMPARISONS
The points in Chart D (right) represent the same three aircraft referred to previously. Pricing used in the vertical axis is as published in the B&CA 2007 Purchase Planning Handbook. 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 average 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 three aircraft in this study. A computed curve fit on this plot would not be very tight- but when all transport aircraft are considered the “r” squared factor would equal a number above 0.9. Others may choose different parameters- but serious business aircraft 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 Learjet 60 business jet can be competitive against other equivalent-sized business jets. In fact- of the categories displayed in Comparison Table B (right)- the Learjet 60 ranked first in Average Speed of the three competitors. That data was sourced from Conklin & de Decker.

Also shown in the table are the relative retail prices from Vref for each aircraft. The number of aircraft in-operation- percentage “For Sale” and the average “Sold” monthly over the past 12 months are based on data from JETNET/AvData.

Within the preceding paragraphs we have briefly covered several of the attributes that business aircraft operators value. There are other qualities such as airport performance- terminal area performance- and time-to--climb performance. The Learjet 60 completely outpaces the competition in speed- time-to-climb and operating altitude with a class-leading low operating cost. The Learjet 60 is also certified to operate at a ceiling of 51-000 ft. compared to the Hawker 800XP at 41-000 feet.

Using JETNET/AvData information- there are currently 38 or 11.5% of the Learjet 60 fleet “For Sale”. The Learjet 60 fares well compared to its competition- so those operators in the market should find the preceding comparison of value. Our expectations are that the Learjet 60- which started delivering in 1993- will continue to do well in the preowned market.

It may be further assisted as current Lear 60 owners upgrade to the newest addition- the Learjet 60XR- that started delivering in 2006 with the “Next–generation” flight deck design and technologies led by the Rockwell Collins Pro Line 21 avionics suite.

 

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