Compared to the original variant, more powerful Pratt & Whitney engines and a glass cockpit were installed in the XLS. In the latter, multifunctional LCD displays replaced the countless analogue gauges, allowing the focus to be on the most relevant information. Almost four years and 330 jets produced later, Cessna launched the XLS+ variant in 2008 with improved engines and a new nose.
According to the common business jet categorisation, the XLS/XLS+ (also XLS Plus) jets are assigned to the midsize business jet segment. They are appreciated, among other things, for their spacious cabin, which comfortably seats eight passengers.
Advantages of a Cessna Citation XLS / XLS+ as a rental aircraft
Spacious passenger cabin: The Citation XLS+ offers generous head and shoulder room, allowing passengers to move and stretch out with ease. With a width of 167 cm, the XLS+ is one of the largest midsize jets. Both the XLS and Plus variants feature extra-wide, sliding seats for maximum flexibility.
Crease-free travel: The wardrobe in the Citation XLS+ enhances cabin functionality and provides additional storage space. The luggage capacity of 317 kilograms allows travellers to carry more - around 17 pieces of luggage in total.
Best-selling: Decisions to purchase a luxury jet costing around US$14 million are not taken lightly. The fact that 1,000 of the 560XL series have already been delivered since 1998 underlines the popularity of the light, medium-sized jet. Welsh professional footballer Garath Bale, currently under contract with Real Madrid, is one of the proud owners of an XLS+.
Safety and efficiency thanks to leading avionics technology: With the Garmin G5000, Cessna now uses one of the world's most advanced avionics systems in its XLS+ jet. In daily operations, this means less work for the crew and a smoother and more efficient flight from A to B for the passengers. Many operators of Citation Excel and XLS jets also take advantage of Cessna's aviation upgrade offer.
Reliable workhorse: Owners value the XLS and XLS+ for their reliability with a good payload-range ratio. This is underlined by two figures: 99.4 per cent of the delivered aircraft are still in service (as of 2021). And the worldwide fleet of the 560XL has accumulated an impressive five million flight hours to date.
Disadvantages of a Cessna Citation XLS / XLS+ as a rental aircraft
No efficiency winners: Cabin comfort is a key feature of the popular Cessna jets. This comes with trade-offs in terms of flight efficiency. Compared to other midsize jets such as Bombardier's LearJet 75, Citations are slower and consume more fuel.
Requires two pilots: Neither the Citation XLS nor the XLS+ are single-pilot jets. A second pilot in the cockpit means a higher level of safety, but also adds cost. Those looking for an aircraft of comparable size with a single-pilot certification might find possible alternatives in the Pilatus PC-24 or Phenom 300e.
The original Citation Excel and its successors, the XLS and XLS+, have earned a leading position in the light medium business jet market for good reason. The Citations offer a winning combination of cabin comfort, size and engine performance. The approximately 6-metre-long cabin offers ample legroom and six fully flat reclining leather seats.
There is a wide range of other options in the midsize jet market. Some are even under the same parent company, Textron Ins. These include, for example, the Hawker 800XP, which can seat up to 13 passengers and has a much longer range. The Hawker model could be the preferred option for overseas flights. Outside Textron's product range, the Bombardier Learjet 40XR and 45XR compete in the same market segment. Both have similar cabin volumes and comparable ranges. However, as Bombardier has ceased Learjet production, the number of available Learjet rental aircraft is expected to decrease.
Independent awards underline the outstanding position of the Citation XLS/XLS+ in various aspects: In 2016, the popular Cessna jet was awarded the "Best of the Best" award by the luxury and lifestyle magazine Robb Report. The award recognised the agility of a light jet paired with the cabin volume of a midsize jet. Cessna has already received the "Best of the Best" award as category winner a total of 29 times.
|Midsize Business Jet (also: Super Light Jet)
|Cessna (Textron Aviation Inc.)
|Number of pieces produced
|More than 1,000 (Complete 560XL Series, as of March 2021)
|Start of production
|XLS 2004 - 2008 XLS+ Seit 2008
|XLS 2 x Pratt & Whitney PW545B XLS+ 2 x Pratt & Whitney PW545C
|XLS Approximately 4 million USD (used 2008 model) XLS+ 14,640,000 USD (new price 2021)
|XLS 1085 m XLS+ 1085 m
|XLS 1444 m XLS+ 969 m
|XLS 802 km/h XLS+ 817 km/h
|XLS 3.683 km XLS+ 3.660 km
|Maximum flight altitude
|XLS 11,9 m³ XLS+ 13,1 m³
|Cabin (length x width x height)
|XLS 5,66 m x 1,65 m x 1,70 m XLS+ 5,64 m x 1,68 m x 1,73 m
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)
How much does a Cessna Citation XLS cost?
A used Cessna Citation XLS costs between $3.3 million for a 2004 model and $4.3 million for a 2009 model, while the XLS+ produced since 2008 has a price tag of $14.64 million according to the list.
Is the Cessna Citation XLS certified for single-pilot operation?
No, the Cessna XLS is not certified for single-pilot operation. Alternatively, the slightly smaller Citation Encore+, which was produced until 2011, could be used. This is considered the largest business jet that can be flown by a single pilot. On the other hand, if you are considering switching to a two-pilot aircraft, the XLS/XLS+ is the right choice. Many pilots appreciate the fact that the broad Cessna portfolio allows them to switch to larger aircraft in small steps without having to change their familiar manufacturer.
How does the Citation XLS differ from the XLS+?
The main differences in model improvements usually involve upgrades to avionics and engines. This is the case with the Citation XLS: the Pratt & Whitney PW545B engines of the XLS have been replaced by the more powerful PW545C in the XLS+. The newer XLS+ is therefore somewhat faster and, thanks to the fully digital engine control (FADEC), more fuel-efficient. As for the avionics system, the aging Honeywell Primus 1000 was replaced by the Rockwell Collins Pro Line 21. The latter has a modern electronic flight instrument system (EFIS) with four multifunctional LCD screens. Visually, the nose of the XLS+ has been modified to improve aerodynamics during flight.
How many Citation XLSs have been sold so far?
At the end of March 2021, Textron (NYSE: TXT) announced the 1000th delivery of a 560XL series jet. The series includes the Cessna Citation Excel, Citation XLS and Citation XLS+ models.
Which airports can be served by a Citation XLS?
The range of the Citation XLS allows direct flights between most intra-European destinations - for example from Athens to London. Its excellent take-off and landing capabilities allow the use of short runways such as those at Bern, Lugano and Cannes airports. The Citation XLS was also designed for the steep approach to London City Airport.