Nextant Aerospace is returning to Beechcraft products to add a second airframe to its remanufacturing business, this time targeting the King Air C90 twin turboprop.
Nextant has teamed with bothand Garmin to offer the G90XT, an upgraded C90 with GE H80 engines in place of the current Pratt & Whitney PT6As, and a Garmin 1000 avionics suite instead of the Pro Line 21.
While Nextant’s move to add another Beechcraft aircraft to its product line is not a surprise, the choice of the King Air is. Nextant was long believed to have been eying the Hawker series to join its 400XTi jet, which is a remanufactured Beechjet 400 with new engines, avionics and interior.
Nextant President Sean McGeough maintains that the King Air is a logical choice for a number of reasons. The King Air remains a strong seller, particularly in the current economy. More than 2,000 C90s have been delivered, providing a large population of used aircraft upon which to draw. A high percentage of the fleet is on the market, driving down resale values and making it easier to acquire for remanufacturing.
Also, McGeough notes, the C90 is in the entry-level market niche, which Nextant “knows pretty well.” And, not the least of which, it is a family that could provide growth opportunity for Nextant down the road.
“I love the King Air,” says McGeough, a former senior Beechcraft executive. “It’s a great entry-level product.” Nextant retained business aviation analyst Argus to conduct market research before it finalized its plans for the King Air.
Nextant is hoping to bring the new G90XT to market next year, a timeline that is much more aggressive than the nearly four years it took to bring the 400XT – now the XTi – to market. But McGeough believes the timeline is doable, particularly since both Garmin and GE hold supplemental type certificates for their products on the C90.
Systems integration and other engineering work remains, leading Nextant to hold back on firm specifications. Nextant also is not yet ready to provide a firm price, McGeough says, adding that it will follow the company’s philosophy of coming to market at about half the price of new, or roughly $2 million.
Nextant plans to follow the same formula with the G90XT as the 400XTi, where it is stripped down and returned to “like new” status. The aircraft will come with new warranty and support, along with training options.
Asked about going head-to-head with Beechcraft once again, McGeough says he does not see the G90XT competing with new C90GTxs, but rather attracting a different customer base. He also believes it will help the market for new as the program will help shrink the available fleet on the market, which will strengthen values for both used and new.
Beechcraft is competing head-on with Nextant’s 400XTi, offering an upgraded 400XPR version with winglets, new engines and avionics. But Nextant has a several years jump on the 400XPR, which has not yet reached market, but is anticipated in upcoming months. Beechcraft also has been working with Rockwell Collins on a new Fusion flight deck for the King Air 350.