EBACE: Soaring demand drives Nextant production growth

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Nextant Aerospace has acquired a new manufacturing facility for the Nextant 400XT at Cleveland's Cuyahoga County airport in response to "greater than expected" demand for its remanufactured jet.

The facility will support an annual production rate of 48 aircraft and quadruples the size of the company's current site.

It features a production hangar that can handle six aircraft simultaneously, a second hangar for aircraft delivery and completions and a third that will house an enlarged painting operation. Staff numbers have also increased to over 150, up from 28 a year ago.

Nextant expects to deliver 32 aircraft by the end of this year, from an order book of almost 70. It recently handed over its 10th aircraft to an undisclosed US client.

"Demand for the Nextant 400XT, in the United States, Europe and elsewhere, has far exceeded our initial expectations. The demand reflects recognition of the 400XT's unrivalled combination of value, performance and comfort at a price about half that of comparable aircraft," says Nextant Aerospace chief executive Kenneth Ricci. "We are excited to open our expanded manufacturing facility, which will enable us to increase our production rate and meet not only current but also expected demand."

The company says 30% of sales to date have come from overseas markets and the aircraft has completed many of the requirements for final certification by the European Aviation Safety Agency. It received Federal Aviation Administration certification in October 2011.

Nextant takes a remanufactured airframe from the Beechjet 400A/XP and adds Williams FJ44-3AP powerplants, a Rockwell Collins Pro Line 21 avionics suite and completely rebuilt interiors.

It claims a 30% reduction in operating costs over the donor aircraft, alongside a 20-30% improvement in fuel efficiency.