The Citation CJ3, also known by its model number 525B, was first delivered in 2004 and was the third model in the line up of the popular CitationJet, abbreviated to CJ series. This article walks through the specifications and the various costs of ownership for the CJ3, including a scenario that includes charter revenue.
The CJ3 was relatively unchanged until 2014 when it was certified with the Garmin G3000 avionics suite, LED lighting, an upgraded interior, and renamed the CJ3+. Prior to that, the CJ3 was equipped with the Proline 21 Rockwell Collins avionics suite. For those new to aviation the avionics suite is the display and computers that interface with all of the aircraft systems. It provides the pilot with the necessary information required to pilot and navigate the aircraft.
The CJ3 is powered by two Williams International FJ-44-3A turbofan power plants that produce 2820lbs of thrust each, and it can seat up to 9 passengers depending on how the interior is configured. The aircraft has two separate baggage compartments, easily accommodating several golf bags and plenty of baggage. This is a benefit over some of its competitors, as they would need to place the larger items, such as the golf clubs, in the cabin aisle between the seats or in the aft seats of the cabin.
The aircraft has a respectable range between 1,700nm and 1,800nm with two pilots and two passengers and their baggage, making it a great aircraft for regional travel and the occasional coast to coast trip. As depicted in the range map (below), from Dallas the aircraft can make most locations on both East and West Coasts without making a fuel stop.
One great aspect of the CJ series is that they are certified for single pilot operations, which allows added flexibility for the owner operator that will pilot the aircraft themselves. Those who fly the Cessna CJ3 single pilot, say that the Proline 21 cockpit can be a handful in a busy airport environment, while others find it easily manageable. For those who will operate the aircraft with professional pilots, the three screen Proline 21 avionics make cockpit resource management highly efficient. With the CJ3+, an upgrade to the Garmin G3000 avionics makes single pilot operations more convenient for the pilot (see image below), due to the simplicity of the user interface and the touch screens.
Ultimately your budget, on top of other factors, will determine whether or not you buy a new CJ3+ or if you will buy a pre-owned CJ3. A new CJ3+ will cost slightly over $8 million when typically equipped, while a pre-owned CJ3 ranges from $4 million to $7.9 million. There are many factors to consider in the acquisition of a pre-owned CJ3, especially since some of the fleet is now reaching the 10 year old mark. Some of these factors are:
- Engine TBO (Time Before Overhaul)
- Are the engines enrolled in the TAP (Total Assurance Program) Advantage Program?
- Damage/corrosion repairs
- Paint condition
- Interior condition
- Airworthiness Directive and Service Bulletin compliance
- Applicability of Avionics
We receive many questions regarding the ownership structure for the CJ3 and the benefits of this jet over others. This is not an easy question to answer as there are many factors to consider in the ownership of an aircraft, and that determine the proper structure for your situation. To provide some ideas on the estimated expenses, we will assume that the aircraft is owned by an individual and is managed by a professional aircraft management company.
So let’s examine the costs of ownership. We will review two scenarios;
- Private and/or Corporate Owned and Operated (Part 91)
- Private and/or Corporate Owned and Management Company Operated on a Charter Certificate (Part 135). Commonly used to offset some of the ownership expense or for tax advantages.
For each scenario, we’ve assumed the acquisition price is $4,718,000 with a 20% down payment made at time of purchase.
|200 Owner Hours||200 Owner / 200 Charter Hours|
|Interest Rate||4%||Interest Rate||4%|
|Payment Period||Monthly||Payment Period||Monthly|
|Term of Loan (Months)||120||Term of Loan (Months)||120|
|Payment Per Period||$38,214||Payment Per Period||$38,214|
|Principal Amount||$25,547||Principal Amount||$25,547|
|Interest Amount||$12,666||Interest Amount||$12,666|
|Annual Owner Hours||200||Annual Owner Hours||200|
|Annual Charter Hours||200|
|Fuel Cost Per Gallon||$5.80||Fuel Cost Per Gallon||$5.80|
|ANNUAL VARIABLE COSTS|
|Fuel Cost||$179,800||Fuel Cost||$179,800|
|Airframe Maintenance||$39,640||Airframe Maintenance||$39,640|
|Engine / APU Maintenance||$53,554||Engine / APU Maintenance||$53,554|
|Crew Miscellaneous||$30,800||Crew Miscellaneous||$30,800|
|Total Variable Cost||$303,794||Total Variable Cost||$303,794|
|ANNUAL FIXED COSTS|
|Crew Expense||$148,200||Crew Expense||$148,200|
|Crew Training||$27,690||Crew Training||$27,690|
|Aircraft Misc.||$10,000||Aircraft Misc.||$10,000|
|Management / Marketing Fee||$0||Management / Marketing Fee||$2,000|
|Payment / Capital Cost||$458,568||Payment / Capital Cost||$458,568|
|Avge Market Depreciaton /Year||$36,997||Avge Market Depreciaton /Year||$36,997|
|Total Cost W/O Charter||$737,778||Total Cost W/O Charter||$739,778|
|Charter Revenue||$0||Charter Revenue||$540,000|
|Variable Cost of Charter||$0||Variable Cost of Charter||$272,994|
|Net Profit Contribution||$0||Net Profit Contribution||$267,006|
|Total Fixed Cost With Charter||$0||Total Fixed Cost With Charter||$472,772|
|Annual Hours||200||Annual Hours||200|
|Annual Budget W/O Charter||$1,041,572||Annual Budget W/O Charter||$1,043,572|
|Annual Budget With Charter||$776,566|
|Monthly Budget W/O Charter||$86,798||Monthly Budget W/O Charter||$86,964|
|Monthly Budget With Charter||$64,714|
|Owner Hrly Rate W/O Charter||$5,208||Owner Hrly Rate W/O Charter||$5,218|
|Owner Hrly Rate With Charter||$3,883|
The above figures are provided by Aircraft Cost Calculator.
The variable costs of charter are made up of an hourly maintenance cost of $465.97 and hourly fuel cost of $899.00 to give a total hourly cost of $1,364.97. This is then multiplies by the 200 hours of charter to give $272,994.