Nextant Aerospace hopes to further boost its presence in Asia following a $45 million deal for 10 of its remanufactured 400XTs to Singapore-based Asia Pacific Jets.
The first two aircraft from the order will be handed over by the end of the year, with one in a standard business aircraft configuration and the other fitted out for service as an air ambulance. Although the final balance of the order, which will be delivered over a three-year period, is yet to be confirmed, two further air ambulances are likely to follow, with the remainder configured as business jets.
Jay Heublein, vice-president sales and marketing at Cleveland, Ohio-based Nextant, says the Asian market for business aircraft is still evolving but will present strong sales potential for the company in the future.
"So far large-cabin types have dominated," he says. "But as that market develops, there will be an opportunity for an aircraft with a better value proposition."
Nextant aims to sell between five and eight 400XTs per year in the region, Heublein adds.
The increased focus on the Asian market will be supported by the appointment of Asia Pacific Jets as a sales agent in Asia for the 400XT.
Nextant are looking to sell 5-8 400XT's a year in Asia
Additionally, Asia Pacific Jets will partner with Hong Kong-based air ambulance specialist AirMed Asia, a subsidiary of US firm AirMed International, to open a new Singapore base to co-ordinate maintenance and warranty support for Nextant in the region. This is scheduled to open later this year.
The company has 83 aircraft in its backlog and plans to raise its production rate to 36 per year by the end of 2012, for the most part to support the two big fleet orders that represent over 60% of its order book.
Six production slots remain open for next year, with a higher number available for 2014.
So far, 16 aircraft have been handed over, the latest, to an unnamed Czech customer, is the company's first delivery to Europe. Although EASA certification has yet to be secured, Heublein says the 400XT has been accepted on a waiver as approval is imminent.
The Nextant 400XT uses a remanufactured Beechjet 400A/XP airframe, which is fitted with new Williams FJ44-3AP turbofan engines and a Rockwell Collins Pro Line 21 avionics suite.
Nextant aims to unveil its next remanufacturing project, for an aircraft larger than the 400XT, at the US National Business Aviation Association exhibition in Orlando, Florida, at the end of October.