When it comes to very light jets - the smallest type of private jets - the Cessna Citation Mustang and Embraer Phenom 100 are two models that immediately come to mind. These impressive jets offer numerous advantages over smaller private aircraft such as the TBM-850 and Pilatus PC-12, and larger aircraft, such as the Cessna Citation Series. However, choosing which VLJ is best for you can be a challenge given the numerous features and capabilities of each model.
To help you decide, we’ve compiled a head-to-head comparison of the Cessna Citation Mustang and Embraer Phenom 100. Read on to learn more about performance, cabin features, operating costs, and more.
The Cessna Citation Mustang (or Cessna 510) is a very light jet that was introduced in 2005 and built between 2006 and 2017. The jet is powered by two Williams PW615F engines and has a maximum range of 2,130 km. In standard configuration, The Mustang can seat four passengers and can fly at a speed of 630 km/u.
The Citation Mustang has many advantages over other types of private jets, including:
The Embraer Phenom 100 is another popular very light jet, introduced in 2008. The Phenom features Pratt & Whitney PW617F-E engines and a maximum range of 2,182 km. The jet can seat up to 4 or 5 passengers (depending on the configuration) and has a cruise speed of around 700 km/h.
Like the Citation Mustang, the Phenom 100 has several advantages that make it a popular choice for private jet travelers, including:
We recently made a video tour of the Phenom 100, you can watch it here.
(Side note: all figures and data mentioned in this post relate to the standard Phenom 100 version, and not the improved Phenom 100EV)
Both models offer numerous advantages over other private aircraft, but which one is the better option if you're looking to rent a very light jet? To help you decide, we’ve compared both models' performance, cruise speed, range, cabin features, and more.
Each jet offers a comfortable cabin that can comfortably seat up to four passengers. Both models also feature four leather seats in a club arrangement with a foldable table between them.
Both the Phenom 100 and Citation Mustang could even seat up to 5 passengers, depending on the specific configuration of the aircraft and whether the additional passenger can be seated in the belted lavatory seat.
The Phenom 100 has an edge when it comes to cabin features and space, however. The jet features more windows which bring in natural light and make the cabin feel more spacious. In addition, the Phenom 100 has a fully-enclosed lavatory in the back of the aircraft, while the Mustang does not.
The latter only has an 'emergency' toilet, which is located under the seat right across from the main cabin door. The Phenom 100 clearly has an advantage in this area, as having a fully enclosed lavatory is a must for many private jet travelers, especially on longer flights.
The Phenom 100 cabin measures 1.45m high by 1.55m wide, which is also more spacious than the Mustang's 1.37m-high and 1.34m-wide cabin.
Another factor worth considering when choosing a VLJ is the luggage capacity of the aircraft. The Citation Mustang has a baggage capacity of around 57 ft³, while the Phenom 100 offers some 70 ft³ to store your belongings, making it also the largest baggage area in its class.
If you're planning on taking more luggage, the Phenom 100 may have an edge over the Citation Mustang. However, if you're taking only a few bags, the Mustang's baggage area should be more than sufficient.
Both planes offer equally impressive performance, however, the Phenom 100 has an edge when it comes to the required runway length for landing. While they each need around 950 m (3,100 feet) of runway to safely take off, the Mustang requires a minimum runway length of just 725 m (2,380 ft) for landing, compared to the 914 m (3,000 feet) required by the Phenom 100.
The range of both very light jets sits around 2,150 km. However, the Phenom 100 clearly has a higher cruise speed, 720 km/h compared to the 630 km/h of the Cessna Citation Mustang.
The Mustang will fly you and 3 other passengers to the south of France in about 1h30*, while the Phenom 100 would probably make the same trip about 15 minutes faster.
* Antwerp - Nice, 850 km
The Citation Mustang is the more affordable option when it comes to both purchase and operating costs. Compared to other types of private jets, such as light jets and turboprops like the Embraer Phenom 300 and Beechcraft King Air 350i, the Mustang offers a lower price tag for acquisition and significantly lower fuel, maintenance, and insurance costs.
The Phenom 100 has a slightly higher overall operating cost, but due to its increased cruise speed over the Mustang, both jet models may offer competitive charter pricing for a similar trip.
However, because of the number of Mustangs currently available on the private jet market, average charter prices for the Mustang have become more attractive, increasing the price difference with many Phenom 100 aircraft on the same routes.
To illustrate the difference in charter cost today, we calculated the price for a fictive Ostend - Lyon flight on a Very Light Jet. On this +- 1h20 flight - the Phenom will do it about 10 minutes faster than the Mustang - the charter price for the Phenom 100 is about €1000 higher compared to the Mustang. Again, this is just to illustrate, as actual charter prices for a specific route, timing and number of passengers depend on many different factors.
You can read more about the different factors that affect private jet charter pricing, as well as more example prices here.
When asking our own private jet broker team, they make an interesting argument.
In this segment of the market, with Very Light Jets on short routes, price is often the deciding factor. The number of Citation Mustangs in Europe is significantly higher than that of the Phenom 100, which causes the charter costs on short routes (1000 - 1250 km) to be lower than those of the Phenom 100, since lots of empty flights can be avoided this way, lowering the price on these routes. We already touched upon this point previously.
On longer flights, however, the Phenom 100's main advantage over the Mustang comes into play: the fully-enclosed lavatory. This is a highly desired feature on longer flights, and the Phenom 100's lead in this area often results in it being chosen over the Mustang for these types of trips. Many clients happily pay a slightly higher price for this additional convenience.
In general, our brokers tend to lean towards the Phenom 100 as the better VLJ, thanks to its more spacious cabin, increased baggage capacity and fully-enclosed toilet. However, for comparable flights in distance and number of passengers, the Phenom may be a little more expensive, as we just mentioned. Despite the similar operational cost as the Mustang (as mentioned earlier), the latter is usually better priced solely because of the increased number of Mustangs currently available for charter.
So, which VLJ is the better choice for you? Ultimately, it depends on your travel needs and budget. Both the Cessna Citation Mustang and Embraer Phenom 100 offer a range of benefits that make them excellent options for private jet travelers.
For the budget-conscious traveler, the Embraer Phenom 100 may have some clear advantages in terms of comfort, cabin features, and speed, but these are usually not decisive enough to offset the Citation Mustang's cost advantage on very short routes.
On longer routes, or when you require some more space and a lavatory, very few light jets can compete with the Phenom 100, making it the better choice for these types of flights.
Whatever your personal preferences and travel requirements may be, both aircraft offer many advantages over other private jets!
If you’re ready to book the Cessna Citation Mustang or Embraer Phenom 100, our team of aviation experts at The Aviation Factory can help. We offer a variety of flexible charter options to meet your travel needs, and our brokers can help you find the best deals on both jets.
Contact us today to discuss the possibilities!