Cessna Grand Caravan 208B EX vs Daher Kodiak 100 Series III

Mike Chase provides information on the Cessna Grand Caravan 208B EX and the Daher Kodiak 100 Series III single-engine turboprops. If you have the need for a utility aircraft capable of transporting relatively large loads over relatively shorter distances, which excels?

Mike Chase  |  01st February 2024
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    Mike Chase
    Mike Chase

    Michael Chase owns Chase & Associates, an aviation consulting firm specialized in industry product...

    Cessna Grand Caravan EX flying over pine trees


    Over the following paragraphs we will consider key productivity parameters, including payload, range, speed, and cabin size, along with the current market for the Cessna Grand Caravan 208B EX and Daher Kodiak 100 Series III. Which is the better option?

    Is it preferable to have greater range and a quicker long-range cruise speed, or more cabin volume? These are some of the questions we’ll consider within our analysis.

    Cessna Grand Caravan 208B EX

    Of the 708 Cessna Grand Caravan 208B EX units in operation today, North America was home to the largest Caravan 208B EX fleet percentage as of December 2023 (40%). Asia accounted for a further 20% of the fleet, followed by Africa (18%), and South America (15%). The global spread of the fleet of Grand Caravan EXs demonstrates the versatile nature of the aircraft.

    Cessna's Grand Caravan 208B EX was first introduced in 2013 and remains in production today. It was engineered to handle challenging, rugged missions with high payloads, and can access short, rough runways operating with a single Pratt & Whitney engine. Meanwhile, the cockpit incorporates a sophisticated Garmin G1000 NXi avionics suite.

    Daher Kodiak 100 Series III

    The Kodiak 100, first produced in 2007 by Quest Aircraft prior to its acquisition by Daher, is also designed to operate out of short fields and in rugged conditions.

    A Garmin G1000 integrated avionics suite with three 10-inch displays is standard. In 2018 the Series II debuted with minor upgrades, and, as of 2021 the Series III started being produced by Daher.

    Essentially, the Kodiak 100 Series III brings safety enhancements such as high, sturdy landing gear and improved cabin comfort and utility. In December 2023 there were 39 Daher Kodiak 100 Series III turboprops in operation, with the vast majority in operation in North America (95%). Europe accounted for the other five percent.

    Common Usage Comparison

    Considering their appeal as utility aircraft, Chart A shows the common usage of the two comparative models (per JETNET data, December 2023).

    As shown, the largest defined usage for the Caravan 208B EX is ‘Business’ (42%), followed by Charter (30%). The most popular defined usage for the Daher Kodiak 100 Series lll is ‘Business’ (82%), followed by Agricultural,

     Government, and Personal (5% each). It will be interesting to see how this develops as more Series III models are delivered to the market.

    Chart A - Cessna Grand Caravan EX vs Daher Kodiak 100 Series III Common Use

    Payload Comparison

    As established in previous turboprop comparisons, a potential operator should focus on payload capability as a key factor in selecting the right aircraft for their need.

    Table A shows the Cessna Grand Caravan 208B EX ‘Available Payload with Maximum Fuel’ is 1,086lbs., which is 342lbs greater than the Kodiak 100 Series III (744lbs).

    Table A - Cessna Grand Caravan EX vs Daher Kodiak 100 Series III Payload Comparison

    Cabin Cross-Section Comparison

    Chart B shows the UPCAST JETBOOK cabin cross-section comparison of the Grand Caravan 208B EX and the Kodiak 100 Series III.

    As noted, while the Cessna Grand Caravan 208B EX has less cabin height than the Daher Kodiak 100 Series III (4.5ft versus 4.8ft), it has more cabin width (5.3ft versus 4.5ft). The Grand Caravan also has more cabin length (16.7ft versus 15.8ft), ensuring a greater overall cabin volume than the Kodiak 100 Series III (352cu.ft versus 248cu.ft).

    Chart B - Cessna Grand Caravan EX vs Daher Kodiak 100 Series III Cabin Comparison

    Range Comparison

    As depicted in Chart C using Wichita as the origin point, the Daher Kodiak 100 Series III (1,005nm) shows more range coverage than the Caravan 208B EX (807nm) when fully fueled and carrying available payload.

    For turboprops, full fuel and available payload represents the maximum IFR range of the aircraft at long range cruise with NBAA IFR fuel reserve calculation is for a 100nm alternate. This range does not include winds aloft or any other weather-related obstacles.

    Chart C - Cessna Grand Caravan EX vs Daher Kodiak 100 Series III Range Comparison

    Powerplant Details

    The Cessna Grand Caravan 208B EX is powered by a Pratt & Whitney Canada PT6A-140 engine with 867 shaft horsepower (shp) and burning 66 gallons of fuel per hour (g/hr), per JETNET data at the time of print. By comparison, the Daher Kodiak 100 Series III is powered by a Pratt & Whitney Canada PT6A-34 engine with 750shp, burning 38g/hr.

    Cost Per Mile Comparison

    Chart D details the ‘Cost per Mile’ for our comparative turboprops (per JETNET), factoring the direct costs (no depreciation), and with each aircraft flying a 600nm mission. The average US Jet A fuel cost used at the time of writing was $6.43 per gallon.

    The Daher Kodiak 100 Series III shows a lower cost per nautical mile ($2.21) than the Cessna Grand Caravan 208B EX ($4.25), mainly owing to its lower fuel burn as sourced from JETNET.

    Chart D - Cessna Grand Caravan X vs Daher Kodiak 100 Series III Cost Per Mile Comparison

    Variable Cost Comparison

    The ‘Total Variable Cost’ of the comparative field is illustrated in Chart E (sourced from JETNET), and defined as the cost of fuel expense, maintenance labor expense, scheduled parts expense, and miscellaneous trip expenses (hangar, crew, and catering).

    The Total Variable Cost for the Daher Kodiak 100 Series computes at $397/hour compared to the Caravan 208B EX at $654/hour.

    Chart E - Cessna Grand Caravan EX vs Daher Kodiak 100 Series III Variable Cost Comparison

    Market Comparison

    Table B contains the new 2023 prices (per Aircraft Bluebook, Winter 2023 data) for the Cessna Grand Caravan 208B EX and the Daher Kodiak 100 series III.

    The long-range cruise speed and range data is sourced from B&CA, while the cabin volume, aircraft in operation, fleet for sale and average units sold are from JETNET. The Grand Caravan 208B EX fleet had 2.4% of its fleet for sale as of the end of December 2023, while the Kodiak 100 Series III had 10.3% for sale.

    The average number of new and used transactions (sold) per month was eleven for the Cessna 208B EX and one for the Kodiak 100 Seres III over the preceding 12 months.

    Table B - Cessna Grand Caravan EX vs Daher Kodiak 100 Series III Market Comparison

    Asking Prices & Quantity

    At the time of writing, the used market for the Cessna Grand Caravan 208B EX aircraft showed a total of seventeen units ‘For Sale’, with asking prices ranging from $2.1m to $3.2m. By comparison, four Daher Kodiak 100 Series III units were listed for sale with no asking prices provided.

    While each serial number is unique, the Airframe Total Time (AFTT) and age/condition will cause great variations in price. Irrespective of a specific unit’s asking price, the final sale price is ultimately negotiated and agreed between the seller and buyer.

    Depreciation Schedule

    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) 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 are 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, which 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 could deduct up to 100% of the cost of a new or pre-owned aircraft purchased and placed in service before January 1, 2023.

    After December 31, 2022, the Act decreases the percentage available each year by 20% until December 31, 2026. Starting January 1, 2024, the percentage rate available was 60%.

    Tables Cand D depict examples of using the MACRS schedule for a 2023-model Cessna Grand Caravan 208B EX and Daher Kodiak 100 Series III, respectively, in private (Part 91) and charter (Part 135) operations over five- and seven-year periods.

    Tables C and D - Cessna Grand Caravan EX vs Daher Kodiak 100 Series III Tax Depreciation

    Productivity Comparison

    The points in Chart F are centered on the same aircraft. Pricing used in the vertical axis is as published in the Aircraft Bluebook Pricing Guide (Winter 2023).

    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. Full Fuel Range (nm) with available payload
    2. The long-range cruise speed flown to achieve that range
    3. The cabin volume available for passengers and cargo.

    Chart F - Cessna Grand Caravan EX vs Daher Kodiak 100 Series III Productivity Comparison

    Others may choose different parameters, but serious business aircraft buyers are usually impressed with price, range, speed, and cabin volume.

    Within this comparison, the lower cost Cessna Grand Caravan 208B EX edged out the Daher Kodiak 100 Series III in terms of cabin volume while offering greater ‘Available Payload with Maximum Fuel’.

    However, the Kodiak 100 Series III offers a longer range and slightly greater long-range cruise speed, while boasting lower operating costs.

    Both models are extremely effective at what they do, appealing to several user-types for their rugged, short-field capabilities and the ability to carry relatively large loads over short distances. Nevertheless, would-be buyers should consider every part of their mission need before deciding which model is best for them.

    Within the preceding paragraphs we have touched upon several of the attributes that business turboprop operators value. There are other qualities beyond the scope of this article, such as airport performance, terminal area performance and time-to-climb that might also factor in a buying decision.

    Read more Turboprop Comparison articles

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    Mike Chase

    Mike Chase

    Editor, Aircraft Comparisons

    Michael Chase owns Chase & Associates, an aviation consulting firm specialized in industry product and market research in the Commercial & Business Aviation sectors.

    With over five decades of extensive experience, Michael has worked as a director of special projects for JETNET, LLC; served as Senior Management Consultant for Sabre Holding; and was Director of Market & Sales Research for Gulfstream Aerospace, leading sales and product research, including feasibility and viability studies.


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