Global sales of Pilatus PC-12 NG grow over 20 percent in 2016, outpacing all other turbine-powered business aircraft.
At last year’s NBAA's Business Aviation Convention & Exhibition in Las Vegas, Pilatus unveiled the latest update to its popular PC-12 NG single engine turboprop aircraft.
New features in the 2016 PC-12 NG increased cruise speed to 285 KTAS, reduced cabin noise levels, offered updated interior design options, and featured more than a dozen drag reduction changes to the airframe, increasing both range and speed.
The market responded positively, with the company on track to deliver 90 new PC-12 NG aircraft in 2016 – an over 20 percent increase over 2015 sales. This sales level will earn the PC-12 NG the honor of being the top-selling model of turbine-powered business aircraft in the world for the year. Even as the overall market contracts, the growth of PC-12 sales is testimony to the unique value and productivity that it provides.
Pilatus Customer Support – No 1 for 15 years in a row
Another highlight for the year was Pilatus’ customer service being rated number 1 for the 15th consecutive year by owners and operators in an annual survey conducted by Professional Pilot magazine. Soon to enter the business jet market with the PC-24 in 2017, Pilatus plans to raise the bar even higher with new customer support programs that will also be offered to PC-12 customers.
Ignaz Gretener, Vice President of Pilatus Aircraft Ltd’s General Aviation business unit commented: “The entire Pilatus team, from engineering to manufacturing to sales and service worked hard this year to achieve these successes in a very challenging market. We continue to believe that the simple formula of a great aircraft combined with outstanding service is how we create value for our customers. We are grateful to our customers for continuing to partner with us in this journey.”
Pilatus expects to deliver the 1,500th PC-12 in mid-2017, and the worldwide fleet of PC-12 aircraft will also surpass the 6 million hour milestone about the same time.
With regards to safety, the most recent business aircraft accident data compiled by Robert E. Breiling Associates, Inc. indicates that the PC-12’s safety record continues to be outstanding and on par with twin engine business jets. This is due to its basic design, the stellar reliability of its Pratt & Whitney PT6 engine, the professional training provided by SIMCOM, and an active operator group which places safety as their top priority.
Strong pre-owned PC-12 market
Despite an industry trend toward lower used aircraft valuations, the preowned PC-12 market continues to remain very strong. According to JetNet Evolution Marketplace Market Summary data for August 2016, just 4.2 percent of the global fleet of PC-12s was listed for sale. The fall 2016 Vol 16-03 edition of Aircraft Bluebook indicates that a ten-year-old 2006 model PC-12 is still valued at 80 percent of its original Factory New Average Equipped List Price. A study conducted by Rolland Vincent Associates, LLC in January, 2016 determined that the 10-year average annual depreciation rate for a Pilatus PC-12 was only 1.6 percent – far lower than any other category of business jet or turboprop.
Tom Aniello, Vice President of Marketing for Pilatus Business Aircraft Ltd, commented on the state of the PC-12 market: “We are finding that in both good and poor economic environments there exists a ‘flight to quality’. The PC-12 provides unique value and productivity to a wide range of market segments, and thus the demand for it remains high. My best marketing tool for selling a new PC-12 NG is to have a prospective customer talk to an existing customer about their experience. Building a reputation like that does not happen overnight, and is actually more than 77 years in the making. Everyone at Pilatus is honored and pleased to be able to offer outstanding aircraft supported by outstanding people.”
Pilatus continues to make significant investments in the expansion of facilities and personnel around the world. Earlier this year at Rocky Mountain Metropolitan Airport in Broomfield, Colorado, the company broke ground on a new 118,000 square foot completions and support center for PC-12 and PC-24 aircraft delivered to North and South America. Pilatus Business Aircraft Ltd, with 80 employees, has been conducting PC-12 completions work in Broomfield since 1996, delivering more than 1,000 aircraft to customers in that region. Employment in Colorado is expected to grow to approximately 140 team members when the PC-24 is in full rate production.
Regarding newly announced designs on the drawing board which closely mimic the PC-12, Pilatus Aircraft Ltd Chief Executive Officer Markus Bucher stated: “We will continue to invest in the PC-12 platform and customer service efforts to ensure that today’s segment and market leader is also the future leader.”