- 01 Sep 2020
- Mike Chase
- Jets Comparison
How do the Hawker 400XP, the Cessna Citation Encore, and the Citation Encore+ 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 Hawker 400XP, Cessna Citation Encore and Encore+ (including payload, range, speed, and cabin size) to establish which aircraft provides the better value in the Light Jet market.
Does speed drive a decision to buy an aircraft over having one with greater range? It is hoped that the following jet comparison will help clarify.
The Hawker 400XP replaced the Beechjet 400A, starting with serial number RK-354. The Hawker 400XP entered operation in 2004 and ended production in 2010. The aircraft offers an increased gross weight and several standard features that were optional on the Beechjet 400A.
Interestingly, a Hawker 400XPR (with ‘R’ representing ‘more range’) was later offered though only five are in operation today. The full Hawker 400XPR package includes Hawker Winglets and new Williams International FJ44-4A-32 engines – a combination offering a 33% increase in range, and improvements in runway and hot/high performance.
Today, there are 210 wholly-owned Hawker 400XP business jets in operation worldwide; an additional two in fractional ownership; and seven in shared ownership (giving a total global fleet of 219). Five units have been retired.
The Citation Encore derives from the Citation Ultra and is one of the largest straight-wing members of Cessna's Citation family. When certified in 2000, the Encore introduced new Pratt & Whitney PW535 engines, more fuel payload, updated interior and improved systems.
Eventually Cessna improved the original Encore with its Citation Encore+, powered by two PW535B engines, incorporating a FADEC system to reduce pilot workload. Collins’ Pro Line 21 avionics system replaced the Encore’s Honeywell Primus 1000, and is lighter in weight. The result is an improvement in payload capability (to 1,090lbs with full tanks), while a slight increase in wing length improves high-altitude flying and climb of the Encore+.
Currently, there are 151 wholly-owned Citation Encore business jets in operation worldwide with an additional nine in shared ownership. Eight have been retired.
Meanwhile, there are 60 wholly-owned Citation Encore+ jets in operation with an additional four in shared ownership and one in fractionally ownership. One jet has been retired.
Payload & Range Comparison
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 Citation Encore and Encore+ ‘Available Payload with Maximum Fuel’ to be 803lbs and 1,090lbs respectively, which are both greater than the 603lbs offered by the Hawker 400XP.
TABLE A: Hawker 400XP vs Cessna Citation Encore+ Payload Comparison
Chart A shows the cabin width of the Hawker 400XP is 4.92 ft. which is slightly wider than the Citation Encore and Encore+ (4.83 ft). However, both aircraft have the same cabin height at 4.75 ft.
CHART A: Hawker 400XP vs Cessna Citation Encore+ Cabin Comparison
The Citation Encore/Encore+ has a longer cabin than the Hawker 400XP (17.33ft vs 15.5ft), and the Citation Encore models provides more overall cabin volume (314cu.ft versus 305cu.ft). Configured with executive seating, the Hawker 400XP and Citation Encore typically provide for seven seats, whereas the Citation Encore+ has capacity for eight.
In terms of luggage provision, while the Hawker 400XP provides more internal volume (31cu.ft) than the Encore and Encore+ (28cu.ft), the Citation Encore and Encore+ offer more external luggage volume (43cu.ft) than the Hawker 400XP (25cu.ft.).
Using Wichita, Kansas as the start point, Chart B shows the Hawker 400XP with less range coverage (1,333nm) than the Encore and Encore+ (1,675nm), each aircraft flying with four passengers and available fuel.
CHART B: Hawker 400XP vs Cessna Citation Encore+ 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. This range does not include winds aloft or any other weather-related obstacles.
All three Light Jets in our study have a pair of engines manufactured by Pratt & Whitney Canada. The Hawker 400XP has two JT14D-5R engines, providing 2,965lbst each, and burning 191 gallons of fuel per hour (GPH).
The Citation Encore has two PW535A engines and the Encore+ has two PW535B engines providing the same 3,400lbst each, and burning the same 180 GPH.
Variable Cost Comparison
The ‘Variable Cost’, illustrated in Chart C, is defined as the estimated cost of fuel expense, maintenance labor expense, scheduled parts expense, and miscellaneous trip expense (hangar, crew, and catering).
CHART C - Hawker 400XP vs Cessna Citation Encore+ Variable Hourly Cost Comparison
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 may vary from one flight department to another.
The Hawker 400XP ($2,332) and the Encore+ ($2,359) provide almost the same variable costs per hour. However, the Citation Encore has a higher variable cost of $2,547/hr.
Market Comparison Table
Table B contains the used prices (per Aircraft Bluebook) for the Hawker 400XP, which range between $1.15m to $1.75m. The Encore and Encore+ used prices range between $1.5m up to $3.5m.
The long-range cruise speed and range numbers listed are from B&CA, while the number of aircraft in-operation, the percentage for sale, and average sold are from JETNET.
TABLE B: Hawker 400XP vs Cessna Citation Encore+ Market Comparison
At the time of writing, the Hawker 400XP had 24 aircraft ‘for sale’ on the used aircraft market (representing 11% of the fleet). By comparison, nine Encores were ‘for sale’ (representing 5.6% of the fleet), and six Encore+ jets were for sale (9.2%). The average number of used transactions (units sold) per month over the previous 12 months was two for the Hawker 400XP and Encore, and less than one sale monthly for the Encore+.
Maximum Scheduled Maintenance Equity
Charts D, E &F display the Hawker 400XP, Encore, and Encore+ respectively. They depict (and project) the Maximum Maintenance Equity each jet has available based on its age.
CHART D: Hawker 400XP Average Maintenance Equity
CHART E: Cessna Citation Encore Average Maintenance Equity
CHART F: Cessna Citation Encore+ Average 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.
In certain cases, aircraft may not qualify under the MACRS system and must be depreciated under the less favourable 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 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.
Table C depicts an example of using the MACRS schedule for a 2009-model Hawker 400XP in private (Part 91) and charter (Part 135) operations over five- and seven-year periods. The price is as published by Aircraft Bluebook at the time of writing.
TABLE C: Hawker 400XP Sample MACRS Schedule
Table D depicts an example of using the MACRS schedule for a 2009- edition Citation Encore+ in private (Part 91) and charter (Part 135) operations over five- and seven-year periods. The price is per Aircraft Bluebook.
TABLE D: Cessna Citation Encore+ Sample MACRS Schedule
Asking Prices & Quantity
The 24 Hawker 400XP business jets available on the used aircraft market at the time of writing showed asking prices for 11 aircraft, ranging between $650k and $2.095m. By comparison, 10 Citation Encore business jets are for sale and six showed asking prices between $1.895m and $2.450m. There are six Citation Encore+ jets for sale and two showed asking prices of $3.4m and 3.795m.
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.
The points in Chart G are centered on the same aircraft. Pricing used in the horizontal axis is as published in Aircraft Bluebook. 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:
Others may choose different parameters, but serious business aircraft buyers are usually impressed with price, range, speed, and cabin size.
CHART G: Hawker 400XP vs Cessna Citation Encore+ Productivity Comparison
The Faster Speed Versus Longer Range Question
The Hawker 400XP offers a faster speed but with shorter range. Moreover, the ‘Available Payload with Maximum Fuel’ is lower than that of the Citation Encore/Encore+, and the cabin volume is slightly smaller.
While this impacts its placement on our overall productivity chart (compared to the Citation Encore and Encore+), the Hawker 400XP also comes in a lower pre-owned price-range, and has more frugal hourly variable operating costs than the original Encore model.
Within the preceding paragraphs we have touched upon several of the attributes that business jet operators value.
There are other qualities such as airport performance, terminal area performance and time-to-climb that might factor in a buying decision, however.
Ultimately, operators should weigh up their mission requirements precisely when picking which option is the best for them, placing more weight on the components (i.e., speed versus range) that are most important to them.
In conclusion there is plenty for a prospective buyer to consider when deciding which performance criteria is better suited to them in an aircraft. All three of the business jets considered offer great value in the Light Jet market today.