A Hot and High Market – FLYING Magazine

Who knew that the dark clouds gathered by a global pandemic would have such a silver lining? Not that we would wish the past three years on anyone to live back through, but the resiliency of the turbine-powered business and owner-flown aviation markets has defied the pains of workforce fluctuations and supply chain disruptions.

Case in point: Bombardier. Though the Montreal-based company has contracted over the past five years through divestment of its Q400 and de Havilland product lines and shifted its focus away from commercial aviation, it appears to be coming through all right, having made sound decisions. The first delivery of the Challenger 3500 took place in September 2022, going to launch customer Les Goldberg, chairman and CEO of Entertainment Technology Partners. “As a previous owner of a Challenger 350 business jet, I can say with confidence that Bombardier has hit all the right notes in creating a next-generation aircraft,” Goldbergsays. “The cabin interior is spectacular, and I appreciate the added comfort and productivity that these new features will bring to our worldwide travels.”

According to the latest projection by Bombardier CEO Éric Martel, the company is taking advantage of the continued attractiveness of business aviation through Q3 2022 to both private individuals and corporations looking to avoid the squeeze of airline travel. In fact, the company expects to deliver more than 120 units by the end of the year.

The 3500 is distinguished by its auto throttle system—which received approval under TransportCanada in April—and the fact that Bombardier has published an Environmental Product Declaration for the model, making it the first of the super midsize jets to launch with this transparent life-cycle impact state-ment that outlines its projected potential for smog creation, ozone depletion, and water pollution.

Those key drivers—the pivot to business and personal travel by private aviation, the focus on sustainability, and the targeting of niche segments within the turbine market—are reflected in the owner-flown turbine segment as well.

Owner-Flown Mounts

Historically low interest rates recently have seen upward pressure, and those rising mortgage rates will surely slow the market as access to capital wanes. At press time, the federal funds rate bumped up to 3.25 percent, with an anticipated rise to up to 4 or 4.25 percent at meetings in November and December, according to kiplinger.com.

But Jim Blessing, president of AirFleet Capital—which writes loans on all models of owner-flown aircraft from pistons to jets—hasn’t seen the needle move just yet, though he admits it could change at any point. “It’s been a wild ride,” Blessing says. “Activity levels are still a little ahead of what they were in 2018,” even considering the interest rate cuts ahead of the COVID-19 crisis.

Though Blessing says that AirFleet’s activity overall is transitioning back to “more normal levels,” with fewer new transactions and more refinancing, there’s still a bright horizon. New aircraft make up 30 percent of AirFleet’s annual volume, and Blessing reports those activity levels are “a bit higher this year [in 2022]. Are interest rates going to upset buying habits?” Hard to tell, but Blessing says there is still ample cash out there earmarked for aircraft purchases. “Our biggest competitor [as a loan underwriter] is a cash buyer.”

If you want a new turbine mount, in most cases you’ll need to negotiate a substantial waiting list. Manufacturers, such as Textron Aviation, Pilatus, and Gulfstream, all register backlogs into 2024 or later—a point reflected in Blessing’s assessment: “We’re not seeing any inventory on the OEM side. Cancellations are an opportunity for the OEM,” allowing them to accommodate a new buyer at a better price than the one previously negotiated when material and workforce costs were lower.

What does this mean for the pilot or flight department that wants a new jet for the fleet, or to enter business aircraft ownership for the first time? You have a wide range of exciting platforms with incredible long-range, high-speed performance—and a “greener” signature—but you might have to plan carefully in order to secure one on your preferred timeline.

Fractional Fleet Updates

Another part of the jet market that has benefited from the continued development of niche turbine mounts are fractional jet operations. Volato, based in Atlanta, Georgia, recently announced that it would expand from its current fleet of 11 HondaJet Elites to add the Gulfstream G280. The company placed an order for four units in September.

With these incoming aircraft, Volato said it would be able to expand its business model to serve a wider share of the market. “When we launched Volato, our strategy was to initially target the largest segment of the market that was not being directly addressed: short-haul flights with only a few passengers,” Volato CEO Matt Liotta says.

“From listening to our customers’ needs and recognizing that our innovative business model is not just limited to light jets, we are excited to expand our model to larger aircraft,” Liotta adds. “This would also ensure that existing HondaJet customers would be able to fly their edge case missions that are farther or with more passengers.” The jump from six seats to the 10-passenger configuration in the G280 allows for that growth, making it the first company to operate the super midsized jet in a fractional model.

Bombardier Challenger 3500$26.7 million2 x Honeywell HTF7350up to 1040,600 lb.1,800 lb.NA0.83 Mach3,400 nmNA4,835 ft.2,308 ft.
Bombardier Challenger 650$32.4 million2 x General Electric CF34-3B MTOup to 1248,200 lb.1,150 lb.NA0.85 Mach4,000 nmNA5,640 ft.2,402 ft.
Bombardier Global 5500$46 million2 x Rolls-Royce Pearl 15up to 1692,500 lb.2,639 lb.NA0.90 Mach5,900 nmNA5,340 ft.2,207 ft.
Bombardier Global 6500$56 million2 x Rolls-Royce Pearl 15up to 1799,500 lb.2,470 lb.NA0.90 Mach6,600 nmNA6,145 ft.2,236 ft.
Bombardier Global 7500$75 million2 x General Electric Passportup to 19114,850 lb.1,890 lb.NA0.925 Mach7,700 nmNA5,760 ft.2,237 ft.
Cessna Citation M2 Gen2$5.855 million2 x Williams FJ44-1AP-21710,700 lb.514 lb.830 pph404 ktas1,550 nm83 kias3,210 ft.2,590 ft.
Cessna Citation CJ4 Gen2$11.290 million2 x Williams FJ44-4A1017,110 lb.1,122 lb.1,299 pph451 ktas2,165 nm86 kias3,410 ft.2,940 ft.
Cessna Citation Latitude$19.305 million2 x Pratt & Whitney PW306D1930,800 lb.1,000 lb.1,770 pph446 ktas2,700 nmNA3,580 ft.2,480 ft.
Cessna Citation Longitude$29.965 million2 x Honeywell HTF7700L1239,500 lb.1,600 lb.1,810 pph483 ktas3,500 nmNA4,810 ft.3,170 ft.
Cirrus Vision Jet G2+$2.98 million1 x Williams FJ33-5A76,000 lb.1,400 lb. mx pyld442 pph311 ktas1,275 nm60 kcas2,036 ft.1,628 ft. ground roll
Dassault Falcon 7X$53.8 million3 x Pratt & Whitney PW307A12 – 1670,000 lb.6,000 lb. mx pyld2,210 pph0.90 Mach5,950 nm104 kias (VREF)5,710 ft. balanced field2,070 ft.
Dassault Falcon 8X$62.5 million3 x Pratt & Whitney PW307D12 – 1673,000 lb.4,900 lb. mx pyld2,240 pph0.90 Mach6,450 nm107 kias (VREF)5,880 ft. balanced field3,705 ft. over 50-ft. obs
Embraer Phenom 100EV$4.495 million2 x Pratt & Whitney PW617F1-E6 or 810,703 lb.647 lb. mx pyld88 gph406 ktas1,178 nm95 ktas3,190 ft.2,473 ft.
Embraer Phenom 300E$10.295 million2 x Pratt & Whitney PW535E18 or 1118,552 lb.1,586 lb. mx pyld124 gph464 ktas2,010 nm103 ktas3,209 ft.2,212 ft.
Embraer Praetor 500$17.995 million2 x Honeywell HTF7500E2 + 937,567 lb.1,610 lb. mx pyld214 gph466 ktas3,340 nm101 ktas4,222 ft.2,212 ft.
Embraer Praetor 600$21.495 million2 x Honeywell HTF7500E2 + 1242,858 lb.2,194 lb. mx pyld236 gph466 ktas4,018 nm104 ktas4,717 ft.2,165 ft.
Gulfstream G280$24.5 million2 x Honeywell HTF7250G8 – 10 + 239,600 lb.4,050 lb. mx pyldNA0.85 Mach3,600 nm115 kias (VREF)4,750 ft.2,365 ft. std config
Gulfstream G500$49.5 million2 x Pratt & Whitney PW814GAup to 1979,600 lb.5,250 lb. mx pyldNA0.925 Mach5,300 nm117 kias (VREF)5,300 ft.2,645 ft. std config
Gulfstream G600$59.5 million2 x Pratt & Whitney PW815GAup to 1994,600 lb.6,540 lb. mx pyldNA0.925 Mach6,600 nm109 kias (VREF)5,700 ft.2,365 ft. std config
HondaJet Elite S$6.5 million2 x GE Honda HF1201 + 5/710,900 lb.883 lb.638 pph/392 ktas/FL430422 ktas1,437 nm108 ktas3,639 ft. MTOW2,867 ft. 4 pax/NBAA
Pilatus PC-24$11.05 million2 x Williams FJ44-4A1 + 1118,300 lb.715 lb.159 gph438 ktas2,129 nm82 kias2,930 ft. over 50-ft. obs2,120 ft. over 50-ft. obs

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