20/Twenty: The Citation Sovereign Still Reigns

NetJets Cessna Citation Sovereign
A NetJets Cessna 680 Citation Sovereign. Credit: NetJets

Textron Aviation confirmed in March 2021 that it had ended production of the Cessna Citation Model 680 Sovereign+ midsize jet to minimize overlap with its Citation Latitude midsize and Citation Longitude super-midsize siblings. 

Edited out of the portfolio as part of Textron’s continuous product alignment strategy, the Citation 680 entered service as the Sovereign in September 2004 and was reintroduced as the improved Sovereign+ in December 2013. The Sovereign is based on the fuselage of the Citation Excel, stretched by 6.6 ft., and coupled with a longer, new-design wing. It accommodates up to 12 passengers but typically seats eight or nine.

The 2020 factory-new list price of the Citation 680 Sovereign+ was $19.7 million; the 2012 list price of the original Sovereign was $17.6 million, according to the Aircraft Bluebook.

At latest count, there were 444 Citation Sovereigns in service worldwide, of which 346 were Sovereigns and 98 Sovereign+ models, according to the Aviation Week Network Fleet Discovery database. Fractional company NetJets operates a fleet of 38 Sovereigns.

There were roughly seven Sovereign/Sovereign+ models listed for sale in mid-January, with the majority of them being under contract, reported OgaraJets, an International Aircraft Dealers Association-accredited dealer based in Atlanta. The low end of the Sovereign market was trading in the $7 million-to-$8 million range. The top end of the Sovereign+ market was seeing figures approaching $20 million, the company said.

Other jets that compete for sales with the Sovereign/Sovereign+ are the Citation XLS/XLS+ Dassault Falcon 50/2000, Gulfstream G200/G280 and Bombardier Challenger 300/350. 

Sovereign and Sovereign+

Citation Sovereign+
A Sovereign+ registered to Northern Air Transportation. Credit: Nigel Prevett/Aviation Week
NetJets Citation Sovereign, Nigel Prevett photo
A Sovereign registered to NetJets, the largest operator. Credit: Nigel Prevett/Aviation Week

The Citation Sovereign came equipped with the Honeywell Primus Epic avionics system with four 8-by-10-in. color LCDs and dual flight management system multifunction control display units. The Sovereign+ replaces the original flight deck with the Garmin G5000 touchscreen avionics suite, featuring three 14-in. landscape displays, synthetic vision system and standard auto throttles. 

The plus-model comes with higher-thrust (5,852 lb.) Pratt & Whitney Canada PW306D engines with full authority digital engine control, compared to the Sovereign’s 5,770-lb.-thrust PW306C engines. Its uprated engines and new “swooplet” upturned winglets boost maximum range by about 240 nm to 3,200 nm. Winglet Technology, of Wichita, Kansas, owns a supplemental type certificate that permits installation of a performance-enhancing winglet upgrade on original Sovereigns.

The Sovereign+ has a nine-ft.-longer wingspan than the original jet, with extended wing tanks and increased fuel capacity. The Sovereign carries 1,675.2 gal. (11,223 lb.) of fuel divided between two 837.6-gal. (5,611.5-lb.) wing tanks. The Sovereign+ increases the amount of usable fuel in those tanks to 1,700 gal. (11,394 lb.), with each tank carrying 850 gal. (5,697 lb.).

Maximum takeoff weight of the Sovereign+ at 30,775 lb., is 475 lb. more than the Sovereign. Known for their short-runway performance, the Sovereign needs 3,694 ft. of runway and the Sovereign+ 3,530 ft. when departing at MTOW in ISA sea-level conditions. The Sovereign+ climbs to 45,000 ft. in 27 min., Cessna says.

“Sovereigns are the poster child for incredible short-field performance coupled with great range,” OgaraJets said. “This is backed by great product and parts support and low maintenance and operating costs relative to the size of aircraft.”
The company said that customer demand is equally as strong for the Sovereign and Sovereign+. “The efficiency gains garnered by the engine improvements and winglet addition [on the Sovereign+] are great, but the auto throttles and Garmin avionics are a big deal,” the company said. “Avionics brands are polarizing among the pilot group due to the varying system logics and variation in the ways pilots process data. For the end user/owner, both aircraft variants and associated avionics are state-of-the art, reliable and 100% safe.”

Cabin Club Seating

Citation Sovereign cabin interior
The Sovereign cabin accommodates several different seating layouts. Credit: NetJets

The Sovereign+ cabin measures 68 in. high, 66 in. wide and 25 ft. 3 in. long, with 14-in. passenger windows. The plus-model features Cessna’s fiberoptic Clarity cabin management system, developed with Carrollton, Texas-based Heads Up Technologies. Reported cabin altitude is 7,230 ft. at its service ceiling (47,000 ft.).

The most common cabin layout features double club seating fore and aft. Club seats have forward and aft tracking, swivel bases and reclining positions. Cabin variations include double club seating with a side-facing single seat forward, accommodating nine passengers; or an 11-seat layout of club seating and side-facing two-person seat replacing the forward galley and a three-place divan opposite two seats aft. A heated baggage compartment holds up to 1,000 lb. and 100 cu. ft. of cargo.

“The Citation Sovereign’s robust cabin of more than 24 ft. in length provides ample space for a full refreshment center and the ever-popular double-club seating,” says NetJets. “In addition, its 100 cu. ft. of baggage capacity is perfect for six standard-sized golf bags and offers as much storage as the Cessna Citation Latitude.”

Sovereign series basic maintenance intervals are 12, 48, 96 and 144 months. The twinjets also have a 3,000-hr. engine midlife inspection and 6000-hr. time between overhaul.

BCA welcomes comment and insight from aircraft brokers and dealers for its monthly 20/Twenty pre-owned aircraft market feature. To participate, contact [email protected]. Our February 2022 featured aircraft will be the Sikorsky S-76. 

Bill Carey

Bill covers business aviation and advanced air mobility for Aviation Week Network. A former newspaper reporter, he has also covered the airline industry, military aviation, commercial space and unmanned aircraft systems. He is the author of 'Enter The Drones, The FAA and UAVs in America,' published in 2016.