October 23, 2013
By Alton K. Marsh
Nextant, in tight competition for refurbishment of the Hawker 400 fleet with Beechcraft, which has a program of its own, has received a $202 million order from charter company Travel Management Co. (TMC) for the conversion of its entire Hawker 400XP fleet. The agreement is for Nextant 400XTi conversions on up to 50 aircraft.
TMC’s order means Nextant now has firm commitments in place to convert more than 100 aircraft, which represents approximately 20 percent of the in-service 400A/XP fleet.
“The TMC deal is more than just another endorsement of the Nextant 400XTi,” stated Nextant President Sean McGeough. “It’s an acknowledgment by TMC, one of the largest commercial business jet operators in the country, that the 400XTi meets the demands of their operations while simultaneously helping them to expand their future business. The transition to the new 400XTi fleet also offers an enhanced residual value relative to their current fleet. With more than 20 percent of Beechjet 400A/Hawker 400XP fleet committed to Nextant remanufacturing, the market is approaching a tipping point where remanufacturing is now the accepted long-term solution for competitive performance and value.”
Beechcraft isn't out of the starting blocks as yet, but is able to install the avionics portion of the winglet, engine, and avionics upgrade. Certification of the engines and winglets is pending. Many owners are expected to wait for Beechcraft and Sierra Industries, the company actually doing the testing of the factory modifications, because they want a factory-designed and -supported modification.
Cleveland-based Nextant Aerospace offers a completely rebuilt Beechjet 400A/XP with Williams FJ44-3AP engines and the Rockwell Collins Pro Line 21 integrated avionics suite. The new aircraft also has major aerodynamic enhancements and an improved engine mounting configuration with redesigned nacelles and pylons. The two companies joust with marketing claims concerning the engine. Beechcraft claims its more powerful engines provide a better climb to altitude, with Nextant saying their engines are more fuel efficient and can climb directly to an altitude that is only slightly less than that claimed by Beechcraft.
With a fleet of 68 Hawker 400 and 800 business jets, TMC claims to be the largest privately owned on-demand private jet service for light and midsize jet charter
AOPA Pilot Senior Editor Alton Marsh has been a pilot since 1970 and has an airline transport pilot certificate and instrument and multiengine flight instructor certificates, aerobatic training, and a commercial seaplane certificate.
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