“We are now in negotiations with avionics suppliers and are doing engine studies for each of the models,” says Sabreliner president Greg Fedele. "The first aircraft could be launched early next year."
But Fedele says a key criterion for the Perryville, Missouri-based company is the size of the inventory available for modernisation. “There has to be a considerable number of aircraft to make the project worthwhile,” he says.
Sabreliner is looking at both in- and out-of-production types, but declines to disclose which models it is evaluating. “The one thing of which I am certain is we are not looking at the Beechcraft/Hawker 400, as Nextant has cornered that market and is doing very well in that space,” Fedele says.
However, he does not rule out potentially competing in the market for upgraded King Air turboprops, where Nextant already offers a remanufactured and re-engined C90, called the G90XT.
The G90XT is scheduled to enter service in the fourth quarter equipped with a Garmin G1000 cockpit and GE Aviation H75-100 engines. “Nextant is also looking at new products in the super-midsize to long-range sectors, so we are likely to compete with them here too,” says Fedele.
Sabreliner will offer a menu of upgrade options, from basic avionics, engine and interior retrofits on customer-owned aircraft to selling remanufactured models that have been purchased and completely overhauled by the company.
“We have all the systems in place to launch a remanufacturing programme now,” Fedele says. “But we want to get it right. We are now doing in-depth market research with potential customers. This should be complete by the end of the year.
“Our aim is to launch a product in each of the categories, eventually starting with the first product in 2016.”
(Kate Sarsfield - Flightglobal News)