Cessna Citation CJ4: Buyer’s and Investor’s Guide
Like all Cessnas, the CJ4 is a workhorse aircraft. It will reliably carry up to ten passengers on shorter flights – exactly what is expected of a light jet.
It is not the most exciting aircraft in the light jet market and features a smaller cabin compared to its direct competitors.
The CJ4 (525C) is the largest of Cessna’s CJ series aircraft, seeing a stretch extension from the smaller CJ3+ and featuring the wings from a Citation Sovereign. The CJ4 sits at the top end of the light jet market in terms of range, passenger capacity and price.
The CJ4 is the most capable CJ aircraft, with greater speed and range than any other small jet Citation.
The CJ4 has a maximum range of 2,165nm (4,009km, 2,491mi) – making it the longest-range small jet. Of course the range reduces proportionately to the number of passengers, cargo weight, and weather conditions.
The cockpit features the Rockwell Collins Pro Line 21 avionics suite and the Rockwell Collins RTA-4112 radar weather system, which allows pilots to see upcoming weather systems and helps them plan to avoid turbulence.
Small aircraft are not known for having spacious cabins. With a cabin height of 4ft 7in (1.45m) and width of 4ft 8in (1.47m), the CJ4’s cabin is slight smaller in comparison to both the PC-24 and Phenom 300.
Despite this, the CJ4 offers space for up to ten passengers to travel in relative comfort and style for the short missions the aircraft is built for. The cabin features six fully reclinable seats as well as media docks, WIFI connectivity and Rockwell Collins’ Venue cabin management system.
Cessna offer the choice of six interior colour schemes from new, and a choice of two cabin configurations – the “standard” configuration with an extended galley, or the “couch” configuration that adds a double-seat divan. It is worth noting that the couch option is highly popular, and it is a feature most pre-owned buyers look for in the CJ4.
List price for a new CJ4 is $9.41 million.
Conklin & de Decker data shows that the variable cost per hour is $1,569 when travelling 428 hours a year. This puts the total variable cost for one year at $671,617.
Fixed costs (including salary for a First Officer) come in at $268,632 per year. The CJ4 is one of the largest business aircraft rated for single pilot operations – however, only flying with one pilot can have insurance implications that may make it more economically viable to hire and fly with a First Officer.
As of 20 December 2017, there are 252 CJ4s. An impressive (but unsurprising) 198 (79%) of these are based in North America. Europe is the next largest market, being home to 26 (10%) of global CJ4s.
Deliveries have been underwhelming in recent years, with only 29 deliveries in 2016. In comparison, the delivery numbers of the Phenom 300 show it is by far the most popular small jet, with 63 deliveries in 2016. Although the PC-24 is yet to start being delivered, the PC-24 has received 84 orders. (This would be higher, but Pilatus closed the order book during EBACE 2014.)
As of January 2018, 11 CJ4s were for sale, representing 4.28% of the total active fleet.
The average asking price is $6.6 million, with aircraft averaging 545.5 days on the market throughout (2016-2017 data). The average CJ4 available to buy has 925 Total Time Air Frame (TTAF).
The CJ4 is a popular choice for owners looking to upgrade from their current Citation aircraft, with 83 instances of owners upgrading from CJ2, CJ2+ and CJ3 models.
Unlike all of Cessna’s other CJ models, the CJ4 has not seen the “+” upgrade… yet. Although Cessna has not confirmed if or when we might see this upgrade, it is something to be mindful of. A new and upgraded version of this already popular jet will put downward pressure on prices for current CJ4s, and should see enhanced performance upgrades to keep at the forefront of the market.
The light jet sector has always been a competitive market, with a wide variety of aircraft available. The CJ4 sits at the higher end of the market alongside Pilatus’ highly anticipated PC-24, as well as Embraer’s best selling Phenom 300E.
Of the 8,190 active light jets around the world, 8.9% are up for sale. This indicates that there is some traction in the market, with fewer aircraft available for sale. The ones that are for sale should sell relatively quickly.
To compare, AMSTAT data shows that only 3.57% of the global CJ4 fleet is available for sale (as of December 2017), with the average CJ4 spending 335 days on the market throughout 2017.
Maximum range: 2,491miles/4,010km/2,165nm
Maximum speed: 518mph/835kmh/Mach 0.67
Typical passengers: 4
Typical crew: 2
List price for new aircraft: $9.41 million
Pre-owned price: $6.6 million