BAN's World GazetteerOhio
Nextant Aerospace, the manufacturer of the 400XTi, G90XT and the recently launched Challenger 604XT, has merged with fellow Directional Aviation company Air Services, a provider of component repair and overhaul, PMA capability and composite manufacturing and repair.
The merger will enable an upgrade programme, primarily aimed at Beechjet and Hawker 400XP owners and incorporating a TBO extension to 5,400 hours, a full Pro Line 21 cockpit upgrade including Synthetic Vision, ADS-B Out, WAAS/LPV and the Nextant glare shield modification. The programme is priced at just over US $500,000.
EBAN discussed the programme with Nextant executive VP Jay Heublein, who tells us: "The big challenge we face is the overall collapse in value in the pre-owned marketplace. When we launched Nextant there was an expectation that if you bought a new aircraft, it would hold a certain residual value for a period of time. We could come in and make a product that was 50 cents on the dollar relatively easily, compared with a new aircraft. But because pre-owned values are falling so quickly, there is an enormous focus on value in the pre-owned space. As a result, we have had to rethink our value proposition and approach. We want to create pathways to our final product that are a little bit more palatable, given the nature of the market today.
"The reality is that existing operators of Beechjets and Hawker 400XPs are facing absolute regulatory and obsolescence deadlines over the next two to four years. Changes are coming and they have to be addressed in order for those aircraft to continue to operate. While we believe that the 400XTi is still the right long-term solution, we understand that not all operators are in a position to make the $3 million commitment for the complete remanufacturing package. Our goal was simple: give operators a cost effective solution that addresses the cockpit issues now but still gives them a path to the full 400XTi should they want it."
The TBO extension is worth 1,800 hours on the aircraft's Pratt & Whitney engines. The full transition to Williams engines is an option to customers later on down the line.
Continues Heublein: "If someone comes to us as having acquired an airframe at a low price then this is an appealing option. For example, you can buy a 2006 Hawker 400XP with run-out engines for $650,000. That gives you a great airframe to turn around and re-manufacture, to turn into a Nextant for an attractive price.
"But for those operators that are already operating the airframe and are not ready to pay $3 million to fully upgrade, the pathway is there now to do it more gradually. We know that the airframe is going to continue to operate for decades to come. We want to address the regulatory issues and at the next TBO interval they can upgrade the engines if they like. Air Services brings with it a strong history of off-wing service experience to assist us with such projects."
Nextant has added 150,000 sq ft of shop space and is continuing to invest in remanufacturing infrastructure.