The Beechcraft Corp. Premier I was introduced into production in 2001 when it gained FAA certification, and was the first light jet aircraft for the company. It was marketed as the first composite fuselage business jet to gain such certification, and was also the first business jet from the Beechcraft with a clean sheet design. Through the next four years, 133 Premier Is were produced. Raytheon and Hawker then produced the derivative aircraft, the Premier IA, which boasted improved avionics, brakes, and a more spacious cabin arrangement. Through 2013 the company produced 165 aircrafts.
Both the Premier I and IA are powered by two (2) Williams International FJ44-2A engines that deliver 2,300 pounds of thrust at takeoff. These engines have exceptional performance for the light category, allowing climb to 37,000 ft in seventeen minutes while the aircraft is loaded to its maximum takeoff capacity.
The Premier I and IA both have Rockwell Collins Pro Line 21 integrated avionics suites. The suite consists of three 8 x 10 inch LCDs that help reduce pilot workload. The IA has some additional features that added to the already pilot friendly aircraft. The Integrated Flight Information System (IFIS), is the most notable feature upgrade. The IFIS comes standard with electronic charts, XM satellite graphical weather and map-overlay capabilities.
Raytheon and Hawker wanted to redesign the interior for the already upgraded Premier IA. They succeeded in this effort, as the aircraft is equipped with one of the largest cabins in its class, measuring in at 13.5 ft long, 5.4 ft tall, and 5.5 ft wide. The typical seating for this aircraft is six or seven passengers, with 77 cu. Ft of baggage space available.
The original cost of this aircraft was $6 million, and the features above made it one of the most prolific aircraft to ever be introduced into the light jet segment. The relative ease of single pilot operation, avionics and performance have lead to continued success for the aircraft.
The Premier I and IA have had continued success even after the recession of 2008 / 2009, and have continued to be an outstanding value in the light jet segment. Particularly, we have seen continued trades for the aircraft coming from overseas back to the United States where the light jet market has continued to rise. (Avbuyer / Jetnet stat). This can be attributed to a price point that has leveled off and truly represented the value of the aircraft.
There are currently 16 Premiers and 12 Premier IA aircraft available on the market, which is 13.2% and 7.2% of the active fleets available for resale. Since both aircraft were produced for a short period of time, the number in the active fleet is lower compared to the rest of the light jet category. In 2014 and 2015, the market saw 19 and 11 transactions of Premier Is, respectively. The Premier IA was one of the most active markets of any category with 20 transactions in 2014, 27 transactions in 2015 and already seven transactions to start the 2016 fiscal year. An interesting point of this market is that the majority of these aircraft are being operated in the U.S., with 73% of the Premier’s and 64% of the Premier IAs being operated domestically. This can be attributed to the strong light jet market in the U.S. over the last two years. Like most aircraft in this segment, the factors most affecting price are the total time on the aircraft, whether it is enrolled on an engine maintenance program, and the aircraft’s additional avionic suite upgrades. Both the I and IA have proven to have an additional hurdle to overcome with the 2013 bankruptcy of the parent company, Hawker Beechcraft. Concerns of parts availability and support have increased skepticism among major financing companies, making these aircraft more difficult to support. However, in 2014 Textron announced that they would begin to support these aircraft. These transactions have ranged anywhere from $2,600,000 – $1,275,000.
Notable Recent Transactions
Below are some recent transactions numbers that provide a brief view of where these airplanes are trading, along with the current Vref trend of the average retail value for the aircraft, by model year, compared to the sales prices below:
Vref Trends for the Aircrafts
Above is the comparison for each aircraft, comparing the retail values from Q1 of 2015 and 2016. As you can see in the Premier, market prices have remained constant in the first three model years which tells us that the pricing for those aircraft has bottomed out. Consistently throughout the next nine years we have seen a drop of $100,000 – $150,000 for each model year. As I mentioned above you can see from the one key transaction in the Premier market that it has held its value well over the past year. The Premier IA market has been showing strong retail transactions with aircraft trading on average above 100% of full retail value, represented by the triangles in the graph above. This is not surprising as we have seen a strong comeback in the light jet market, specifically domestically. Even though trends started to drop after the first of the year, we are predicting that this market will continue to be strong in 2016. The bottom line with these aircraft is that it presents an outstanding value for its price point. Whether you are a single pilot, or a company looking to travel short legs domestically, the Premier is an aircraft that offers below-average operating cost and above-average performance.
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