Nextant Aerospace is showing its 400XTi small-cabin, light business jet at LABACE 2013, making it the model’s Latin American debut and following up a visit last year by the company’s 400XT. Brazil is seen as a major opportunity for the remanufactured version of the Beechjet 400A/XP, which Nextant believes is a perfect fit for many requirements in the region.
Speaking to AIN here at LABACE 2013, Jay Heublein, Nextant’s executive v-p global sales, explained: “Operating economics are vital here, but you have to have the range. Our aircraft offers medium-jet range performance at light jet operating costs. It fits some important city pairs that you couldn’t do before with [an aircraft in] this category.”
The 400XTi is an attractive proposition for existing and new entry-level jet customers seeking a more capable and cost-efficient aircraft at the very attractive purchase price of just $4.95 million, suggested Heublein. “The [Embraer] Phenom 300 is a fine aircraft,” he said, “but you can buy a 400XTi and operate it for five years for the same price.”
Backing up Nextant’s optimism is company research showing 1,634 entry-level jets currently in Latin America, of which many are more than 10 years old and 11 percent are for sale. As well as attracting existing light jet operators, Nextant also sees a healthy market for operators looking to step up from turboprops, which have traditionally been dominant in the Latin American market primarily on the basis of their lower acquisition and operating costs than similarly sized jets.
With around 600 Beechcraft/Hawker 400A/XPs originally built, there is no shortage of airframes available for remanufacture. Nextant’s plant has the capacity to produce 48 400XTis annually, but the company plans to run it at a rate of around 24 to 30 aircraft over the next year. After the launch of the initial 400XT model, Nextant officials were pleasantly surprised at how quickly export interest kicked in, and now the company has sold 30 aircraft. The goal is to double that number by some time in 2014.
New Sales Agent
Latin America, and Brazil in particular, has been earmarked as the clear sales focus for the next year. Just this week, Nextant announced that it had selected Cygnus Aviation to act as the exclusive sales agent for Venezuela, Colombia and the Caribbean. The aircraft on display here at LABACE conducted a number of demonstrations in that region on its way to São Paulo. The Caribbean is considered a natural market due to the number of high-net-worth individuals.
Brazil is the next target for a sales agent, and Nextant is in an advanced stage in the selection process for a local partner. “We’re talking to a couple of companies,” reported Heublein. “It’s a large market and we want to make sure we have the right partner.” A selection is expected later this year. The 400XTi itself is expected to make a return to Brazil in a few weeks time for customer demonstrations.
Nextant unveiled the XTi earlier this year at the EBACE convention in Geneva. Among the enhancements introduced by the type are drag-reducing, “shark fin” winglets, as seen on the company demonstrator aircraft on display here. The winglets are about 80 percent through their certification campaign, which is due for completion in the fourth quarter of this year. An autothrottle option is currently in a market-appraisal phase.