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Monday, May 5, 2008

Cost Comparisons Favor Eclipse over Mustang, Phenom

VLJ Report Exclusive

A company more familiar to larger business jet operators has developed cost comparisons for the most immediately available very light jets – the already certificated Cessna Mustang and the Eclipse 500 as well as the Embraer Phenom 100 which is expected to be certified in the fourth quarter of this year.
The analysis provided by David Wyndham, vice president and co-owner of Conklin & de Decker, (shown in charts below) clearly gives the advantage to the Eclipse 500 for costs but as anyone who is considering the acquisition of a new jet knows, everything depends on the mission and the disparate needs of the customer. Wyndham said the company has had a few queries about vljs but it is not now a significant part of current customers, although the company is hoping to do more.
“For short haul – in the 300- to 500-mile range, these aircraft are very similar,” said Wyndham. “Even the physical size of passenger, whether they are smaller or larger, on the shorter trips you are not going to see that much of a difference and the performance-related items on how much weight and speed become larger factors. It is when you go beyond that that things like cabin comparison, comfort and things like a lavatory become more important. The cabin shrinks the longer you are in it. The more money you spend the more room you get which favors the Mustang and Phenom.”
There are also other considerations that are very important in the mix between the three aircraft including customer support. He noted that Cessna has established itself as a great manufacturer for product support and has service centers all over the country so close in support is all but guaranteed. “Eclipse is new so it remains to be seen how good they will be in supplying spares and what happens in meeting major inspections,” he said. “Embraer has also done a good job on the regional aircraft side and is transitioning that to the business side. But I think on product support the advantage goes to the Mustang.” Story continues below





Conklin & de Decker was founded 36 years ago in order to develop in-depth cost analysis for operating business aircraft or helicopters and is a “world leader in a niche business with few competitors,” according to a recent profile in the Fort Worth Star Telegram. The company is most renowned for its annual Aircraft Cost Evaluator, database software containing the relative operating costs for over 460 jets, turboprops, helicopters and pistons, allowing comparisons of up to three aircraft at a time, adjustments for over two dozen cost factors, setting the annual utilization in hours flown or distance flown, changing currencies. It also offers performance comparisons, and life cycle cost comparisons in other software products as well as an aircraft acquisition textbook.
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