Nextant Aerospace, founded in 2007 by aviation entrepreneur Kenn Ricci, was selected as Aviation Week’s 2015 winner of the Laureate for Business Aviation, which recognizes preeminence in business aviation achievement.

A Directional Aviation Capital company, Nextant was lauded for bringing new technology to business aviation at less cost as a remanufacturer of business aircraft, a new concept for the community.

The Cleveland-based remanufacturer first transformed the Beechjet and Hawker 400 into the much-improved, reengined Nextant 400XTi, which sells for about half the price of comparable aircraft. It has enjoyed significant sales in every major operator category. More than 50 Nextant XTi jets are operating in 11 countries.

And in 2014, Ricci’s company moved into turboprops, upgrading the King Air 90 into the Nextant G90XT. This year, the aircraft completed its first flight, and flight testing has begun; certification is expected to follow soon.

Nextant President and CEO Sean McGeough accepted the award along with other Nextant team members. 

“[The award is] a tribute in which all our employees and supply-chain partners can take well-earned pride,” McGeough said. “Inspired by Kenn Ricci’s vision, we’ve worked hard to pioneer the technical and commercial success of business aircraft remanufacturing, and it is fantastic that our achievements are recognized by our colleagues in the industry.”

A strong field of finalists vied for the award.

Texas financier Robert Bass was chosen as a contender for his continued financial backing of efforts by Aerion to develop a supersonic business jet. After a decade of research and design refinement, the program received a big boost in 2014 when Airbus signed on to bring Aerion into flying reality.

Brazil-based Embraer, which continues to expand its business aviation line, was nominated for its 2014 certification of the Legacy 500—its first purpose-built, fly-by-wire medium jet designed for corporate travel.

And Pilatus Aircraft CEO Oscar Schwenk was tapped for the introduction of the PC-24, its first civilian jet, which will mirror the rough-field, wide-hauling capability of its successful PC-12. Pilatus, admired for creating exquisitely engineered aircraft, introduced the first PC-12 last year.