Take a look at the $10 million Embraer Phenom 300, which just became the new most popular private jet in the US

  • The Embraer Phenom 300 has surpassed the Cessna Citation Excel as the US' most popular private jet.

  • According to federal data, the Phenom had about 360,000 takeoffs and landings over the past 12 months.

  • The Brazilian-made plane boasts better fuel burn, speed, and range compared to the Excel.

Textron Aviation's best-selling Cessna Citation family of private jets has reigned as America's most popular for 15 years, but it just lost its top spot.

According to the Federal Aviation Administration's August report on business jet operations, the Brazilian-made Embraer Phenom 300 has overtaken the Cessna Citation Excel series as the most-flown business plane in America.

The Phenom 300 has had over 360,300 takeoffs and landings at US airports since August 2022, while the Excel is just shy of 359,000. The difference is about 1,400 takeoffs and landings, according to the agency — making it the first time since 2009 that any private jet has flown more than the Excel in the US.

"With its best-in-class speed, range, and cabin pressurization, plus incredible fuel efficiency and the highest residual value in the industry, we continually improve upon this spectacular jet to deliver the utmost value to all our customers who fly it," CEO of Embraer Executive Jets Michael Amalfitano recently posted on LinkedIn.

A Cessna XLS+ on top and a Phenom 300 on bottom.
The Cessna Citation Excel family (top) has been the US' most-flown private jet for the past 15 years.jremes84/Shutterstock, NetJets

The Cessna Citation Latitude, the Cessna Citation V, and the Cessna Citation CJ3 business aircraft were also in the FAA's monthly report as the third, sixth, and ninth most-flown private planes, respectively.

Private aviation consultant Brian Foley told Bloomberg that despite its smaller cabin, the Phenom 300 has become a fan-favorite thanks to its better fuel burn, speed, and range compared to the Excel. And, it costs about $3 million less than $13 million Cessna Citation XLS+, which is the latest version of the Excel.

He also explained that Embraer's "long airliner heritage" (the company also builds commercial planes) gives the Phenom 300 a "perception of being purpose-built for high utilization."

Take a look at the $10 million private plane.

Introduced in 2009 as part of Embraer Executive Jets, the Embraer Phenom 300E — the latest version of the plane — is the world's best-selling light jet.

NetJets' Embraer Phenom 300E
A NetJets' Embraer Phenom 300E.Embraer Executive Jets

The Phenom 300E offers enhancements compared to its predecessor, including better speed, bigger seats, a redesigned cabin, and a new inflight entertainment system.

Since entering service, over 700 Phenom 300 series aircraft have been delivered — with North America being its largest market.

By comparison, there have been over 1,000 deliveries of the Excel since the program started in 1994, with the latest version being the Citation XLS+.

The business plane boasts incredible range and speed thanks to two Pratt & Whitney PW535E1 engines.

Embraer Phenom 300e
Benjamin Zhang/Business Insider

Specifically, the 300E can fly at up to 534 mph, while the 300 flies at 513 mph, according to Embraer.

As far as range, both versions can fly about 2,300 miles, which is enough to fully cross the US — and the higher speed of the 300E may be preferred for those on a tighter schedule.

The Excel XLS+ can fly about 1,850 miles at speeds of up to 507 mph.

And, the Embraer is particularly popular for its single-pilot capabilities.

The cockpit of a Phenom 300E.
Benjamin Zhang/Business Insider

Unlike the XLS+, the Phenom 300 is certified for single-pilot operations — giving more flexibility to operators and customers.

And, its cockpit has been enhanced with new technology that helps reduce pilot workload and improve situational awareness — like the runway alert system that "provides a warning advisory if the runway approach is too steep or too fast."


Although the cabin is smaller than the competing Excel, the Phenom 300 boasts the "Oval Lite" cabin, which offers the "most head and legroom of any light jet."

Embraer Phenom 300e
Benjamin Zhang/Business Insider

With roughly 17 feet of cabin length to work with, the plane can seat between 6 and 10 people depending on seat layout and if there is one or two pilots. That's two less than the up to 12-seat capacity on the Excel — though the latter most comfortably seats nine

But, customers won't find the private bedroom that is common on larger private planes like VistaJet's Bombardier Global 5000 or the Gulfstream G700 owned by Qatar Airways Executive.

And, complementing the plane's giant windows, the most common layout includes six reclining loungers each with a pop-out table in between.

Embraer Phenom 300E
The Brazilian-made Embraer Phenom 300 has surpassed the best-selling Cessna Citation Excel as the US' most popular private jet.Embraer

For example, NetJets' Phenom 300/E has a set of four "club seats," as well as two additional forward-facing seats.

Meanwhile, competing private jet operator Flexjet sports a seven-person cabin thanks to a bonus seat located towards the front of the plane.

According to Embraer, operators can also fit a small duvet couch at the entrance — a feature also common on the Citation XLS+.

Embraer Phenom 300e
Benjamin Zhang/Business Insider

With the couch installed, the Phenom 300/E will commonly carry eight people.

According to Textron, the Excel's standard side-facing couch "delivers additional flexibility to your cabin's layout."


Meanwhile, an aft lavatory and forward galley can be configured on opposite sides of the cabin.

Embraer Phenom 300e
Benjamin Zhang/Business Insider

The galley can be stocked with drinks, snacks, coffee, and other necessities that ultra-rich travelers will expect when chartering a private jet.

While the Phenom 300 is the most-flown private jet in the US as of August 2023, Textron's large Citation fleet still claims significantly more flight hours.

Cessna Citation XLS+
jremes84 / Shutterstock.com

The Cessna Citation family includes everything from light jets to super midsized planes, with the manufacturer actually developing a brand new variant known as the Citation Ascend.

Built as the new edition of its XLS+, Textron Aviation's senior VP of global sales and flight operations said the Ascend is "designed to outperform and take our customers further in style."

This means that despite the rise in popularity of the Phenom 300, Cessna's true-blue Citation family will continue to be an industry fan-favorite.

Cessna Citation XLS+
Textron Aviation

"One of every three business jets worldwide is a Cessna Citation, and product upgrades like these continue to give customers new reasons to choose us for our proven performance, leading technology, and unmatched cabin experience," Textron told Bloomberg.

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