MEBAA Convention News

Nextant Notches First Middle East Sale

 - December 8, 2014, 9:00 AM
With its new partner in the region, JetHQ, Nextant believes its 400XTi is the right aircraft for a number of Gulf operators.

Nextant Aerospace (Stand 338) has secured its first sale in the Middle East region: a Nextant 400XTi is to be delivered to a customer in Saudi Arabia in February, making the Kingdom the twelfth country in which the company’s remanufactured Hawker Beechjet 400A/XP has been sold. The sale follows a demonstration tour that was undertaken in the region a few weeks ago.

Handling the sale is JetHQ, Nextant’s Dubai-based regional sales agent for the Middle East and Turkey, which has recently named Ted Farid as its chairman. Farid brings his long experience in the business jet market with Cessna, Learjet and, most recently, Beechcraft to the company.

By the end of the year Nextant will have delivered 50 400XTi aircraft; company officials see a bright market for the type in the region following this first sale. As well as business/private travel, there is perceived to be a considerable need for medical evacuation capability, for which the 400XTi (and Nextant’s G90XT) is ideally placed. A medevac special-mission version is already available, which has just added approval from New Zealand.

With orders having passed 120, the 400XTi has achieved a penetration into the 400A/XP fleet of around 20 percent. While there are still airframes available to be bought for remanufacturing, the company has noted that the appearance of the 400XTi has caused the prices of the older aircraft to rise. Nextant is increasingly seeing interest from existing 400A/XP owners looking to have their own aircraft remanufactured to 400XTi standards. One very important “owner” is the U.S. Air Force, which wants to update its fleet of T-1 Jayhawk trainers, which are based on the Beechjet 400A. Nextant has responded to a request for information and is expecting a request for proposals in a few months.

In October the 400XTi fleet surpassed 33,000 flight hours. Nextant’s maintenance network is achieving an average return-to-service time of around nine hours. Nextant held its first international operators conference at the October NBAA show in Orlando, Florida, to discuss operational issues.

First Flight of G60XT Soon

Currently the company is preparing the G90XT for its maiden flight. The aircraft is a remanufactured Beechcraft C90 that integrates Garmin’s G1000 avionics, General Electric H75-100 engines and other new features into a re-lifed airframe. Nextant has been taking orders for the model since the book was opened at the EAA AirVenture show this summer and has recorded keen interest in the Americas, with its first order coming from a Latin American customer.

For some time Nextant has been flying a King Air C90A with Pratt & Whitney Canada PT6A-135 engines to act as a baseline against which the G90XT can be compared. This week the company is undertaking a first flight review with General Electric and Garmin, and the FAA conforming article is scheduled to fly before the end of the month. Nextant has set an aggressive certification program that should see the G90XT available in the first quarter of next year. STCs already held by Garmin and General Electric should help speed the process.

At October’s NBAA show Nextant displayed the flight deck of the G90XT, featuring two primary flight displays and a large central multifunction display. Among the features that will significantly reduce pilot workload are a digital pressurization system that automates cabin pressure control by integrating it with the flight management system, and the Unison electronic engine control, which combines the operations of engine and propeller pitch into a single-lever operation. Other new elements in the cockpit include digital fuel control, synthetic vision and underspeed protection.

Thanks to the H75-100 engines and other refinements, the G90XT is expected to offer improvements in performance and economics. The engines allow a higher gross takeoff weight and hold their power ratings at higher altitudes. Specific fuel consumption is reduced by between 10 and 15 percent, leading to operating cost savings. Maximum cruise is expected to be 273 knots, while range is expected to be 1,240 nm with four passengers and reserves.

Nextant’s first G90XT is configured with test equipment instead of a fitted interior. The company has designed a new composite cabin shell that maximizes internal space; acoustic insulation will be available as an option. A range of interiors is offered, from three- and five-seat executive layouts to an air ambulance interior.

As for Nextant’s next remanufacturing product, the company has nothing to say right now, other than it will be “bigger.” However, it has established a customer advisory group with TAG Aviation, Jet HQ, Avic of China, Flight Options and Guardian Jet as founding members. Nextant plans to consult this group on market issues, which will assist the company in selecting the aircraft types that would be best suited for forthcoming remanufacturing programs.