Guest Editorial - The Air Taxi Market
Gunner put a pencil to the paper and tried to make some sense regarding the Eclipse claim to the air taxi market. Here is his take:
The numbers for Eclipse Production simply do not compute. They continue to tout orders that are about 10 fold what Cessna states for the Mustang. (Dec 2006, "Flying").
How is this possible?
Ostensible Answer: The Air Taxi Market
But let's examine that just a bit. From Eclipse's own site, they claim an Op Cost Per Hour of $372 vs their number of $574 for the Mustang.
Lets adjust that a bit more fairly as follows:
- Conservatively subtract $36/hr from Mustang to render the insurance estimate equal.
- Conservatively subtract half of the $40/hr from Mustang for costs Eclipse claims will be attributed only to Mustang for AOG calls, "Flight Support", "Trending and Monitoring", "Rental Engine Liability" and "Enhanced Operators 'Web Site Functionality" (whatever that is).
- Add back the $27/hr Fuel Cost differential Eclipse claims to have locked in on the Not-Yet-Been-Implemented JetComplete program.
Suddenly the hourly cost comparisons are $399 vs $517
Now, lets rough out hard costs per seat mile (assuming full fuel and full passenger payload):
- 370 knots vs 340.
- 714 lbs full fuel load vs 800
- Average Passenger Weight with carry on (FAA 2005): 192 lbs
Bare Bones Costs per Seat Mile:
So, where is this Air Taxi market that has flocked to a tiny, no baggage, no lav, startup jet company while refusing to give the time of day to a proven company with a more spacious, better suited AirTaxi Jet that is already in full production?
Surely, the op costs come into play, yes. But is this Air-Taxi-Industry-In-Waiting so price sensitive that an op cost jump from $.29 to $.36 would drive demand from 2,000+ Eclipse to Zero a couple dozen Mustangs?
I somehow don't think so. The smart players in this Burgeoning New Industry would bite the bullet and start flying at least a few hundred of those clunky old Mustangs just to gain market share before Carey Limousine enters the market with its couple thousand Eclipse.
I'm sorry, no matter how you do the math, there is simply no reason that Eclipse should have thousands of Air Taxi orders while Cessna claims 250 TOTAL orders.
Even if you take into account the $1MM price differential, it doesn't add up. Cessna has a track record for longevity, reliability and stability. All Eclipse has is Vern.
And people ask why nobody believes the Eclipse model.