With demand for private jet travel at an all-time high, CitationPartners (Static Display A804) is implementing Phase II of its Citation Excel Eagle program that refurbishes Cessna Citation Excels and XLSs to like-new condition. Under Phase I, the company upgraded a half dozen former NetJets Excels to Citation Eagles, selling them directly to customers. Phase II will enable existing Excel and XLS owners to have the nose-to-tail refurbishment program applied to their own Excel/XLSs.
CitationPartners’ Russ Meyer, Jr. told AIN the company is moving ahead with this second phase in part because of the lack of availability of preowned Excel/XLSs, including ones it was planning to acquire from NetJets as the fractional and jet card company traded in the twinjets for newer aircraft. Meyer said that because of the demand NetJets and others are seeing for private flying, by the time NetJets trades in those models their engines will have racked up nearly 17,000 hours.
Also, with a tight supply of preowned jets for sale, the normal 3 to 5 percent of the more than 1,000 Excels/XLSs in the active fleet “simply were not available,” he said.
Demand was strong for Excel Eagles, the company learned once it announced the program in late February. CitationPartners has sold its 2021 allotment of six Excel Eagles—three have already been delivered—while inquiries for the refurbished jets continue to pour in. “We said, ‘Well there clearly should be a next phase of this program,’” Meyer added.
Under the program, the 560XL undergoes an inspection at Textron Aviation’s Wichita Citation Service Center. Any squawks that turn up during the inspection requiring new parts or systems will be replaced up to $25,000. “Our forecast is that it will be very rare that we will exceed the $25,000,” Meyer said.
Once that work is complete, the airplane will be moved across the runway at Wichita Eisenhower National Airport to Yingling Aviation, where the exterior will be stripped and repainted, the interior replaced with fabrics, colors, and seating options selected by the customer, and Garmin G5000 avionics installed. Meyer said CitationPartners is guaranteeing a turnaround time of five months for each airplane. The company will also help Excel Eagle customers find an alternative lift provider during the time their aircraft is being refurbished.
The cost of the second-phase refurbishment is $1.49 million. It’s $100,000 cheaper for customers who provide a letter of intent with a $25,000 fully refundable escrow deposit made before October 31, which lowers the total cost to $1.39 million.
“We know that there are hundreds of Excel/XLS operators and owners who love the airplane and might be quite interested in upgrading them with modern avionics and with exactly the same package we put in [the first Excel] Eagle,” Meyer said. “We will not deviate from that [original] program. It is not only a proprietary program that brings all that value, but Vref is carrying the Eagle as a separate model, and it’s valued at $1.25 million more than any other like-year stock Excel/XLS.”
The second phase of the Excel Eagle program also includes enrollment in Textron Aviation’s ProParts program at a low hourly rate and no enrollment fee. Additionally, the total cost of the refurbishment qualifies for bonus depreciation.