Nextant Aerospace is preparing to treble the size of its business jet offering through the introduction in the second quarter of two re-engined legacy models.
The yet-to-be-disclosed midsize and super-midsize types will sit at the top of the Nextant family of XT-suffixed jets – which currently consists of the light-cabin 400XT – and give the US airframer a much needed foothold in the move-up market.
“Having only one product in the Nextant family has its limitations,” says Nextant chief executive Kenneth Ricci. “Customers who want to move up from a small to a larger aircraft have to go elsewhere as we have nothing to offer – until now.”
Currently the 400XT is the only aircraft in the Nextant family
As with the 400XT, the two new aircraft will be upgraded with the latest engines, avionics and interiors and will have “attractive acquisition and operating costs”, Ricci adds. “We hope to build on our success with the 400XT programme [introduced in 2011 as a modernised version on the Hawker 400XP/400A], for which we have secured a sales backlog valued in excess of $175 million and delivered 25 aircraft to date.”
Nextant plans to add the latest business jets to the fleet of sister company Flight Options, which already operates a dozen 400XTs from an order for 40 of the six-seat aircraft.
Nextant will source the aircraft and perform the upgrade at its 125,000ft2 remanufacturing facility in Cleveland, Ohio, from where the company plans to deliver around 24 Williams FJ44-3AP-powered 400XTs this year. “We can ramp up to 30 400XTs if demand requires”, says Ricci.
The USA represents Nextant’s largest market, but international sales are growing, Ricci says, and now “account for 40% of the order book”. The $4 million 400XT clinched European certification last month and Nextant is hoping to secure approval this quarter for its new raked winglets.
“Our priority this year is to build our global sales and customer support network,” says Ricci.
To assist with this strategy, Nextant has hired former Hawker Beechcraft executive Sean McGeough as its president. McGeough - who led the airframer’s international operations in Europe, the Middle East, Africa and Asia Pacific ”will concentrate on developing strategies that will allow Nextant to achieve even greater global market penetration and sustained growth for the Nextant 400XT,” says Ricci.