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Pre-owned turboprops and jets


Certified aircraft programs and refurbished airframes are detailed.

By Shannon Forrest
ATP/CFII. Challenger 604, G-IV
Contributing Writer

The Bombardier pre-owned certification ensures the aircraft meets manufacturer standards prior to resale. The 605 remains a popular airframe in 2024.

The Covid-19 pandemic affected the air travel industry in a multitude of ways. The most deleterious effects happened to commercial airlines as countries closed their borders to halt the spread of the virus.

Airlines scrapped most of their schedules as they sought to preserve cash. Aircraft deliveries were postponed or pushed back. Nearly all corporate flight departments saw a reduction in flying hours due to travel restrictions and budget constraints.

Consequently, buying new aircraft wasn’t a priority, so sales of new aircraft declined. At the height of the pandemic in 2020, new business jet deliveries topped out at 644.

For comparison, 2008 was a record year, with 1327 new business jet airframes delivered to customers. During the decade preceding Covid-19, the average number of business jets delivered in a single year hovered just under 700 units.

As employees stayed home during the peak of the pandemic, production lines were shut down, which induced another set of problems – aircraft parts became scare or unavailable. Even if a buyer wanted a new aircraft, the manufacturer’s inability to acquire sub assemblies meant that on-time delivery was likely impossible.

When Covid-19 restrictions were eventually lifted and employees returned to work, some production line issues remained. Phrases like “supply chain disruption” became the daily mantra, which was offered as an explanation for the inability to obtain anything, from washing machines to Gulfstreams.

Frustrated buyers turned to pre-owned assets that were available immediately. In 2021 and 2022, the demand for pre-owned business aircraft increased markedly. High demand and little supply, along with the inflation associated with governmental entities infusing massive amounts of printed money into circulation, caused the price of pre-owned business aircraft to rise steeply.

Dassault’s pre-owned certification program covers classic airframes and models recently off the assembly line.

Revenge travel

A phenomenon strongly correlated with an uptick in demand for pre-owned business aircraft is strangely named “revenge travel.”

The term started via social media around 2021 and, according to Forbes, is defined as “taking a trip that hasn’t been able to happen due to the pandemic.”

It’s the fact that travelers hold a deep-seated disdain for the fact that they were restricted from movement during Covid-19 and are now engaging in gluttonous behavior of traveling by air whenever and wherever, no matter the cost.

Revenge travel perhaps explains why credit card debt is at an all-time high for the middle-class, and yet airline seats are full.

Wealthy travelers who would have flown first class before the pandemic are now opting to charter aircraft or even purchase a turboprop or light jet. Although the impetus for flying private originally stemmed from not wanting to engage with large crowds, the post-pandemic goal is avoiding the misery of airline travel.

In October 2023, Fast Company magazine published an article entitled “More people are flying in private jets, and it’s ruining air travel for the rest of us.” The piece claims that private jet use is up 20% because of the pandemic, and points out that, because so many people have access to first class, it has become little better than economy plus. Many passengers receive upgrades because of being frequent fliers, not because they opted to pay more for the service.

The Nextant Aerospace’s G90 XT is an entry level turboprop that simplifies operation through enhanced technology.

Pre-owned aircraft market

Even when seated in first class, passengers still must deal with needling their way through the mass of humanity headed to the pre-check line at airport security, over-crowded lounges, and endless delays.

Those with the means have simply had enough. Those who don’t want to invest in owning a pre-owned turboprop or entry level jet, yet still want to travel private, have the option of purchasing shares with a fractional aircraft provider.

This also generates demand in the pre-owned market. According to AMSTAT, in 2023, pre-owned business aircraft transactions declined by 23% year over year. In addition, decreasing demand and an increase in supply mean that prices are returning to historical averages.

The word “pre-owned” began as a cleverly crafted ploy from the marketing department of luxury automobile manufacturers. Prior to using the moniker of pre-owned, the term was “used.” It’s a game of psychological semantics – one that increases sales, so aircraft manufacturers soon embraced the same business model. Certified pre-owned aircraft provide the buyer with guarantees and assurances that may not occur when conducting a private sale.

Blackhawk Aerospace can replace the original 4- or 5-blade pre-owned PC-12 propeller with an advanced 7-blade model that reduces takeoff distance by 15%.

As one may expect, Bombardier, Dassault, and Gulfstream all have certified pre-owned aircraft sales departments. The Q4 2023 market report from Bombardier lists the following pre-owned aircraft for sale: Learjet 45XR (16), Challenger 605 (21), Challenger 604 (30), Challenger 300 (20), Global Express (24), Global Express XRS (13), Global 6000 (17), Global 5000 Vision (5), and Global 5000 (18). Compared to 2022, the number of days on the market has increased across the entire pre-owned Bombardier fleet.

Asking prices are trending downward, except for the Challenger 300, which has remained consistent throughout the past 2 years. In 2024, it appears that revenge travel is starting to wane, flight hours flown by corporate flight departments are decreasing, and the inventory of pre-owned aircraft is increasing.

As a result, there’s deals out there with the possibility of negotiating prices when it comes to pre-owned. It’s worth noting that new aircraft prices remain high and are expected to increase as manufacturers deal with cost increases in both parts and labor.

Aircraft refurbishment

Another option when it comes to pre-owned is to upgrade an older airframe with modern equipment and amenities. Nextant Aerospace is doing exactly that, and touts itself as the global leader in aircraft and component remanufacturing.

Based in Cleveland OH, Nextant says it has redefined the business aviation industry by using reimagined engineering and production capabilities to transform used business aircraft into modern airframes.

Airframes are rebuilt with innovative technology for improved performance, such as advanced flight deck avionics, and enhanced passenger cabin configurations. The premier transformation is taking a stock Challenger 604 (derived from the Canadair 600 series first developed in 1976) and transforming it into a sleek, modern aircraft. In Nextant’s words, they’re making a classic relevant again.

Piper pre-owner turboprops are appealing to operators stepping up from high performance twin- or single-piston airplanes.

The result is the Nextant 604XT, outfitted with the Collins Pro Line Fusion avionics package. Synthetic and enhanced flight vision systems (SVS ans EFVS, respectively) come standard, and options include controller-pilot data link communication (CPDLC), MultiScan weather radar, and XM graphical weather. SpaceX’s Starlink Internet capability is expected in the future.

The company advertises its high-speed inflight Internet at $2000 per month for 20 GB of data. One selling point of Starlink is a lower latency rate of less than 99 ms.

The ground-based service has amazing speed and reliability. If SpaceX can pull off the same performance in business aircraft, it will be a highly desirable product.

Buyers interested in operating the Nextant 604XT have a couple of options. The easiest is to buy one “off the lot” directly from Nextant through their brokerage services. But if that’s not desirable, Nextant can locate a classic Challenger 604 airframe and transform it into a 604XT. An operator can also provide their own aircraft and Nextant will make the modifications.

Although Nextant is well-known for Bombardier modifications, they also hold STCs for Embraer, Hawker/Beechjet, and Gulfstream. For entry level turboprop customers, the company offers a highly modified Beechcraft King Air C90. The airframe comes fitted with General Electric H75-100 engines, a Garmin 1000 avionics package, electric engine and prop governor control, a vapor air cycle air conditioning system, and digital cabin pressure controller.

Blackhawk Aerospace was founded in Waco TX in 1999. The company has made a big name for itself when it comes to pre-owned classic turboprop modifications. Blackhawk is most known for the King Air, but the company also offers upgrades for Cessna Caravan and Conquest, Piper Cheyenne, and Pilatus PC-12 aircraft.

Blackhawk offers the Finnoff engine modification for the PC-12, which upgrades the original Pratt & Whitney Canada (P&WC) PT-6 with a newer version that increases shaft horsepower from 1000 to 1200.

On average a pre-owned Kodiak 100 is currently selling for roughly 8% below the value of a new aircraft.

In addition to increased climb to altitude and faster speed, the newer engine design adds a second 300-amp generator that allows for full power on bus 2.

The second generator is cooled by a NACA scoop. The performance specs advertise a direct climb to FL300 at any weight and temperature, and the modification includes the P&WC warranty of 5 years or 2500 hours (whichever comes first).

Blackhawk also offers performance enhancements for the King Air C90, 200, 300, and 350 lines. The primary focus is the PT6 engine, which Blackhawk upgrades and then denotes using the precursor XP.

For example, the new engine or the King Air 300 series is relabeled the XP67A. According to published specs, the XP67A and ancillary upgrades will allow the aircraft to achieve a 55% reduction in time to climb and a true airspeed of at least 343 kts. It’s important to point out that the Blackhawk process is an upgrade, not an overhaul.

One of the biggest expenses of aircraft ownership – and especially so when it comes to purchasing a pre-owned aircraft – is the cost of overhauling the engines. Whereas the Blackhawk option is a fixed financial commitment, the cost of overhaul can widely vary as a function of what’s discovered once the engines are taken apart.

Blackhawk can conduct an upgrade in a few weeks, versus the unknown downtime associated with a typical overhaul. It’s been noted that Blackhawk-modified aircraft fetch higher prices at resale, and also hold their value in a declining market.


Some buyers will always purchase new aircraft no matter the cost. However, right now, the value and the deals seem to be in the pre-owned turboprop and jet markets. Savvy shoppers can obtain the aircraft and the upgrades below the list cost of a similar aircraft fresh off the production line. More importantly, with the correct upgrades and modifications, these aircraft can achieve performance on par – or even better – than the new one.

ForrestShannon Forrest is a current line pilot, CRM facilitator, and aviation safety consultant. He has more than 15,000 hrs TT and holds a degree in behavioral psychology.