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In this month’s Jets Comparison, Mike Chase provides information on a pair of business jets, the Embraer Phenom 100EV and the HondaJet HA-420.
Over the following paragraphs we consider key productivity parameters (payload, range, speed and cabin size) and cover current market values for the Embraer Phenom 100EV compared to the HondaJet HA-420 business jet. For extra measure, we’ll also factor the Phenom 100 and 100E jet models.
Embraer’s Phenom 100EV has a capacity for five passengers in executive configuration, but it can carry up to seven passengers with a single pilot and an interior configuration option of a side-facing seat and belted toilet.
The original Phenom 100 is powered by a pair of Pratt & Whitney PW617F-E engines that employ a Full Authority Digital Electrical Control (FADEC) system, making them extremely efficient in-flight. The Phenom 100 also utilizes a Garmin G1000 avionics system that is re-named the ‘Prodigy’ Flight Deck 100 for this aircraft.
US and Brazilian certification for the Phenom 100 came in 2008, with first delivery also being made that year. Starting at serial number 325, however, Embraer introduced a refreshed version of the original aircraft in the form of the Phenom 100E. Among the updates were Embraer’s latest Prodigy flight deck and more capable brake-by-wire software.
In 2017, Embraer delivered the first of its current version, the Phenom 100EV. New features in the 100EV centered around enhanced performance and included a Prodigy Touch flight deck based on the popular Garmin G3000 suite (standard on the larger Phenom 300).
The Phenom 100EV’s engines were also upgraded to the PW617F1-E model, offering increased thrust, helping improve the jet’s hot and high performance, and adding more range and a faster climb.
Of 307 Phenom 100 jets built, 296 remain in operation of which 274 are wholly-owned, eight are in shared ownership and 14 are in fractional ownership. Two demonstrators are at the factory and nine of the type have been retired. By comparison, 49 Phenom 100E jets were built, all of which remain in operation today. Forty-eight of those are wholly-owned and one is in shared ownership.
Finally, 22 Phenom 100EVs have been built to date. Twenty are in operation globally and all 20 are wholly-owned. Two are awaiting customer delivery at the factory.
As of October 2018, the Embraer Phenom 100 series jet fleet comprised of 53% owned since new versus 47% purchased as used. Of the Phenom 100, 100E and 100EV aircraft in operation by continent, North America had the largest percentage (52%), followed by South America (28%) and Europe (14%), accounting for a combined total of 94% of the fleet.
Of of the Phenom 100 series jets in operation today, 22% are in fleet ownership with the largest fleet operator (Executive Flight Services, Inc.) owning 12 aircraft.
Of the HondaJet aircraft in operation, by continent North America had the largest percentage (83%). All aircraft are wholly owned. Fewer than 5% of the HondaJets in operation today are in fleet ownership. The largest fleet operators (Aero Care Medical Transport System, Inc. and GE Corporate Air Transport) own two aircraft each.
Payload & Range Comparison
As we have mentioned in past articles, a potential operator should focus on payload capability as a key factor. Table A shows the Phenom 100 series’ Available Payload with Maximum Fuel ranges between 580 to 602lbs, all of which are slightly more than offered by the HondaJet (556lbs).
Table A: Embraer Phenom 100 Series vs HondaJet Payload & Range Comparison
Chart A shows a cabin cross-section comparison with the Phenom 100 series offering the same 5.1ft width and 4.9ft height. The HondaJet has approximately 1 inch less height and width, per our UPCAST JETBOOK graphic.
Not depicted in the graphic, however, the Phenom 100 series has a shorter cabin (11ft) compared to the HondaJet (12.1ft), and therefore a slightly smaller overall cabin volume (280cu ft) compared to the HondaJet (282cu ft).
The Phenom 100 does offer greater baggage space. The Phenom 100 series offers 10cu ft of internal and 60cu ft external baggage space, while the HondaJet has no internal, but 66cu ft external baggage space.
Chart A: Embraer Phenom 100EV vs HondaJet Cabin Cross-Section Comparison
As depicted by Chart B using Melbourne, Florida as the origin point, the Phenom 100EV (1,092nm) shows slightly more range coverage than the HondaJet (1,065nm).
For business jets, ‘Four Pax Range’ represents the maximum IFR range of the aircraft at long range cruise, with NBAA IFR fuel reserve, and a 200nm alternate. This range does not include winds aloft or any other weather-related obstacles.
Chart B: Embraer Phenom 100EV vs HondaJet Range Comparison
As mentioned, the Phenom 100 is powered by a pair of Pratt & Whitney Canada PW617F engines each offering 1,615lbst. The Phenom 100E, meanwhile employs the 1,820lbst PW617E-F, and the 1,780lbst PW617F1-E is utilized on the Phenom 100EV. By comparison, the HondaJet offers a pair of GE Honda HF120 engines with 2,095lbst each.
The Time Between Overhaul (TBO) for the HondaJet is greater (5,000 hours) than for the Phenom 100 series (3,500 hours).
Chart C details ‘Cost per Mile’ and compares the Phenom 100 series to their HondaJet competitor, factoring direct costs (no depreciation) and with each aircraft flying a 600nm mission with an 800lbs (four passengers) payload. The average US Jet-A fuel cost used for November 2018 was $4.94 per gallon.
Chart C: Embraer Phenom 100 Series vs HondaJet Cost Per Mile Comparison
The Phenom 100EV shows the lower cost per nautical mile at $5.26, compared to $5.28 for the HondaJet HA-420 – a relatively insignificant difference. The Phenom 100 has the lowest cost at $4.82 of all aircraft in the field.
Total Variable Cost
The ‘Total Variable Cost’ illustrated in Chart D and sourced from JETNET, is defined as the Cost of Fuel Expense, Maintenance Labor Expense, Scheduled Parts Expense, and Miscellaneous Trip Expense (hangar, crew and catering).
The Total Variable Cost for the Phenom 100EV computes at $1,179/hour compared to the HondaJet’s variable cost is $1,064/hour.
Chart D: Embraer Phenom 100 Series vs HondaJet Variable Cost Comparison
Aircraft Comparison Table
Table B contains the new prices (per Vref) for the Phenom 100EV and HondaJet. The average speeds and ranges are from Conklin & de Decker, while the number of aircraft in-operation, percentage ‘For Sale’ and average sold are as reported by JETNET.
The Phenom 100 fleet had 6.4% of its fleet for sale at the end of October 2018, while the Phenom 100E had 18.4% and the HondaJet 15.4% on the market. The average number of new and used transactions (sold) per month is three for the Phenom 100, one each for the Phenom 100E and 100EV and four for the HondaJet over the past 12 months.
Table B: Embraer Phenom 100 Series vs HondaJet Comparison Table
Maximum Scheduled Maintenance Equity
Chart E displays the Phenom 100 and depicts the Maximum Maintenance Equity the jet has available based on its age. Similar data was not available for the Phenom 100E, 100EV or HondaJet.
The Maximum Maintenance Equity figure was achieved the day the aircraft came off the production line (since it had not accumulated any utilization toward any maintenance events). The percentage of the Maximum Maintenance Equity that an average Phenom 100 will have available, based on its age, assumes average annual utilization of 230 flight hours, and that all maintenance is completed when due.
Chart E: Embraer Phenom 100 Maximum Scheduled Maintenance Equity
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 (see Table C).
Table C: Part 91 and Part 135 MACRS Schedule
In certain cases, aircraft may not qualify under the MACRS system and must be depreciated under the less favorable Alternative Depreciation System (ADS) where depreciation is 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 six-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 new Act, taxpayers may be able to deduct up to 100% of the cost of a new or pre-owned aircraft purchased after September 27, 2017 and placed in service before January 1, 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.
Part 91 & 135 MACRS Schedule
Table D depicts an example of using the MACRS schedule for a 2018 Phenom 100EV in private (Part 91) and charter (Part 135) operations over five- and seven-year periods, assuming a 2018 list price at $4.4m for the Phenom 100EV, per Vref Pricing Guide.
Table E, meanwhile, depicts an example of using the MACRS schedule for a 2018 HondaJet HA-420 in private (Part 91) and charter (Part 135) operations over five- and seven-year periods, assuming a 2018 list price at $5m, per Vref Pricing Guide.
The current used market for the Phenom 100 aircraft shows a total of 21 jets ‘For Sale’ with seven displaying asking prices ranging between $1.895m - $2.75m. For the Phenom 100E, a total of 10 aircraft are listed for sale, five of which display asking prices ranging between $2.95 - $3.6m. There are currently no Phenom 100EV for sale on the used jet market.
The current used market for the HondaJet HA-420 aircraft shows a total of 12 jets for Sale with four displaying asking prices ranging between $3.889m - $4.6m.
While each serial number is unique, the Airframe Total Time (AFTT) and age/condition will cause great variations in price. Of course, the final negotiated price remains to be decided between the seller and buyer before the sale of an aircraft is completed.
The points in Chart F are centered on the same aircraft. Pricing used in the vertical axis is as published in the Vref Pricing Guide. 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:
Four Passenger Range (nm) with available fuel;
The long-range cruise speed flown to achieve that range;
The gross 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 F: Embraer Phenom 100 Series vs HondaJet Productivity Comparison
The HondaJet demonstrates a higher level of productivity (though it is priced at $600k more than the Phenom 100EV). The Phenom 100 series compared to the HondaJet is generally very well matched.
The HondaJet edged out the Phenom 100 series only slightly in terms of cabin volume. However, the Phenom 100 has the lowest cost per mile but higher variable cost per hour. The Phenom 100EV offers a slightly greater range than the HondaJet, which is quicker.
Note: Since introducing its original model, Honda now offers an upgraded HondaJet Elite model. HondaJet operators can retrofit their original models for ~$250k to incorporate small payload and range enhancements among other items.
Within the preceding paragraphs we have touched upon several of the attributes that business aircraft operators value. There are other qualities such as airport performance, terminal area performance and time to climb that might factor in a buying decision. Operators should weigh up their mission requirements precisely when picking which option is the best for them.