Nextant Aerospace has launched a modification programme aimed at owners of Beechjet 400A and Hawker 400XP business jets who are looking for a cost-efficient way to extend the life and boost the residual value of their ageing, out-of-production aircraft.
The move is also designed as a stepping stone to Nextant’s 400XTi upgrade, which was launched by the Cleveland, Ohio-based remanufacturer in 2011 as a major overhaul of the 400A/XP featuring new engines, avionics and interior.
“There has been a huge decline in the residual values of these light jets, leaving many owners and operators unable or unwilling to sell,” says Nextant’s executive vice-president Jay Heublein.
He notes that 13% of the 510-strong 400A/XP fleet is currently up for sale – more than three percentage points higher than the industry average – which is driving down prices. “Rather than selling their aircraft at a huge loss, or undergoing a costly major upgrade, people are looking for other alternatives.”
Nextant calls the XTi “the right end-game for the Beechjet airframe,” but admits many people are unable to afford or justify the $3 million required for the upgrade. “We are offering an interim solution,” says Heublein.
For $500,000, Nextant will replace the 400A/XP’s Rockwell Collins Pro Line 4 cockpit with the Pro Line 21 system used on the XTi, which will enable operators to meet forthcoming airspace regulations in the USA, such as the requirement for automatic dependent surveillance - out systems from 2020.
The package also includes a time between overhaul (TBO) extension on the types' Pratt & Whitney Canada JT15-D engines to 5,400h. “That’s an increase of 1,800h on the original TBO,” says Heublein.
The package gets operators a third of the way towards the XTi installation, he concedes. “The next step is the Williams International FJ44-3AP engine upgrade, followed by the cabin revamp and winglets, but these can be added at a later date,” he adds.
Meanwhile. Nextant – owned by US private investment firm Directional Aviation Capital – is hoping to secure validation in the third quarter for the digitally controlled, single-lever power control system in its G90XT twin-engined turboprop. The approval is the final hurdle in the remanufactured Beechcraft King Air C90’s certification campaign, and will allow Nextant to begin deliveries of the six-seat type in the fourth quarter.
Launched in 2013, in partnership with engine manufacturer GE Aviation, the XT features the latter's H75-100 turboprops, a Regent flightdeck, based on the Garmin G1000 avionics suite, a digital pressurisation system, and a redesigned interior and cockpit.
In a separate move, Nextant has merged with sister company and parts overhaul and repair specialist Air Services, which takes on the former's name. The alliance is designed to bolster the engineering capabilities of both ventures.