Nextant Aerospace hopes to launch up to two remanufactured business jets at October's National Business Aviation Association Convention in Las Vegas and has commissioned US aviation consultancy Argus to help identify potential market segments and desirable aircraft types to add to its product line.
The Cleveland, Ohio-based customer has already cut its teeth on the remanufactured jet business with the introduction in 2011 of the Nextant 400XT. The light-cabin business aircraft is a revamp of the Hawker 400A/XP featuring Williams International FJ44-3AP engines, a Rockwell Collins Pro Line 21 cockpit and a new interior.
The XT was itself subjected to a minor revamp and name change in May. The rebranded 400XTi features a quieter and slightly larger cabin.
"We have no plans to be a one-stable company," says Nextant president Sean McGeough. "We would like to offer a broad range of aircraft eventually, from light to large cabin. This will enable our customers to move up through the product line and not move to other manufacturers."
Argus is interviewing an array of operators to determine which aircraft and segments offer desirable platforms that can be readily remanufactured. "We are looking at three to four aircraft types across three to four segments," says McGeough, while declining to reveal the models under consideration.
With the business aircraft market still in the doldrums, McGeough stresses the importance for Nextant to select optimal products: "The market is really suffering. Aircraft values - particularly in the light and midsize sectors. It is vital that we choose an aircraft that brings a value proposition to its owners. We've done that with the Hawker 400."
To date, 28 XTs have been delivered to customers across the globe "and we have a very healthy orderbook for the XTi", adds McGeough. The first of the $4.95 million, seven-seat twin-jets will be handed over in July.
"There will always be demand from buyers who see value. The possibilities within the remanufacturing market are endless," says McGeough. "Airframe technology has changed very little over the years - composite structures are not proven to be any better than aluminium frames for example. However, there have been vast improvements in engine, avionics and cabin technologies over the same period, and that's what customers want to see in their aircraft."
Nextant hopes to receive the study's findings in September, "then we can plan our strategy around those favoured market segments", says McGeough.