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The Cessna Citation CJ3+ and Embraer Phenom 300E are two popular lights jets. Both aircraft can fly similar distances. Both aircraft cost around the same.

However, how does the newer Phenom 300E stack up against the Cessna CJ3+? Which is better? Which one should you choose?

See a comparison between the Cessna CJ3+, Phenom 300E and Nextant 400XTi.


The Cessna Citation CJ3+ is powered by two Williams Intl. FJ44-3A engines, with each engine capable of producing up to 2,820 lbs of thrust. Therefore, the total thrust output comes to 5,640 lbs.

In comparison, the Embraer Phenom 300E is powered by two Pratt & Whitney PW535E1 engines. Each engine is capable of producing up to 3,478 lbs of thrust. As a result, the total thrust output comes to 6,956 lbs.

While both aircraft are capable of cruising at up to 45,000 feet, the Phenom 300E can cruise faster. Much faster.

The maximum cruise speed of the Phenom 300E is 464 knots compared with a maximum cruise speed of 416 knots for the CJ3+.

Therefore, over the course of a 1,000 nautical mile cruise the Phenom 300E will save you 15 minutes over the Cessna.

Fuel burn is relatively similar between these aircraft, with the Phenom having a slightly lower fuel consumption than the Cessna.

The CJ3+ has a fuel burn of 220 Gallons per Hour (GPH). In comparison, the Phenom 300E burn just 200 Gallons per Hour (GPH).


The range of these two aircraft is remarkably similar.

The Embraer Phenom 300E has a maximum range of 2,010 nautical miles. The Cessna Citation CJ3+ is able to slightly beat this with a maximum range of 2,040 nautical miles.

Taking these range figures at face value, this is roughly the distance from New York to Las Vegas.

However, these range figures are assuming ideal weather conditions and minimal weight. Therefore, once you factor in strong wind and additional passengers, these figures will decrease.

Ground Performance

The Cessna CJ3+ and Phenom 300E also have extremely similar take off performance figures.

The minimum take off distance of the CJ3+ is 3,180 feet. In comparison, the Phenom 300E has a minimum take off distance of 3,209 feet.

Almost identical performance figures.

However, an area where these aircraft do differ is minimum landing distance. The minimum landing distance of the Phenom 300E is drastically shorter than that of the CJ3+.

Interior Dimensions

When it comes to the interior measurements of the cabin, the Phenom 300E is larger in every dimension.

The cabin of the Phenom 300E measures 5.23 meters in length, 1.55 meters wide and 1.5 meters tall.

On the other hand, the CJ3+ measures 4.78 meters in length, 1.47 meters in width and 1.45 meters in height.

As a result, the Phenom 300E can officially carry more passengers than the CJ3+. While Cessna claim that the CJ3+ can carry up to 9 passengers, the Phenom 300E can carry up to 10.

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However, keep in mind that both these aircraft are single pilot certified. As such, these passenger figures include one passenger sitting in the cockpit. Additionally, another passenger would be required to use the belted lavatory.

Therefore, is is highly unlikely that these aircraft will ever be carrying this many passengers onboard. Furthermore, any reputable charter operator will not allow a passenger in the cockpit. Rather, two pilots are typically mandatory when these aircraft are used for chartering.

The extra size of the Phenom 300E also translates into more space for baggage, with a baggage capacity of 84 cubic feet. In comparison, the Cessna CJ3+ has a baggage capacity of 65 cubic feet.


When comparing the interiors of these two aircraft, the Phenom 300E really stands out as being the more modern aircraft.

Deliveries of the Phenom 300E began in 2018, compared with deliveries of the CJ3+ starting in 2014.

One area where this is most defined is the cabin altitude. A lower cabin altitude will result in an overall more pleasant cabin environment. It is measured in altitude above mean sea level.

The maximum cabin altitude of the Phenom 300E is just 6,600 feet compared with a maximum cabin altitude of 8,000 feet for the CJ3+.

It is highly unusual for a light jet to have such a low cabin altitude. Typically, lower cabin altitudes are found among midsize and large jets.

Cessna Citation CJ3+ Interior

Fourteen windows provide a reasonable amount of natural light within the cabin. When flying at night the interior is illuminated by low-power, energy-efficient LED lighting. Additionally, the CJ3+ features a belted flushing toilet as standard.

The CJ3+ remains connected to the world below with wireless cabin technology designed especially for the Citation lineup. Optional in-flight WiFi, moving maps, flight information, and cockpit audio are all integrated with your own personal device. This allows for “uninterrupted productivity and entertainment”. An optional Satcom phone is also available.

Upfront the aircraft features a refreshment center to keep you well fed during the mission. This can be replaced by a side-facing seat to maximize passenger capacity. The four front seats are arranged in a club configuration with access to an executive table.

Combine all the factors and you get, as Cessna says, “a peaceful, productive environment”. Cessna also say that the Citation CJ3+ “offers the ultimate cabin for light-jet travel”.

Cessna Citation CJ3+ Interior

Cessna Citation CJ3 Plus Interior
Cessna Citation CJ3 Plus Interior

Embraer Phenom 300E Interior

Embraer Phenom 300E interior cabin with blue and gray interior, window shades shut
Embraer Phenom 300E interior side facing divan with galley and cakes

Embraer Phenom 300E Interior

With the performance numbers and exterior of the Phenom 300E being very similar to that of the Phenom 300, one is left to wonder where the significant changes have occurred. Once inside the aircraft, the differences are clear.

The feedback that Embraer received from customers was that they loved the performance, but the interior comfort could use some work. And that is exactly what Embraer has done with the 300E, claiming that the update features “a total redesign of the 300’s interior.” Tables, window shades, seats, and ceiling panels have all been updated and redesigned.

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The new seats feature retractable armrest and thigh supports, along with tracks that allow for the cabin seats to pivot away from the side walls to increase the amount of shoulder room each passenger has, giving passengers even more space.

The retractable armrests also create more space within the cabin, with the Phenom 300E featuring a slightly wider aisle than the previous generation 300. The seating within this light jet allows for a maximum occupancy of 11 persons (including crew), resulting in a maximum occupancy of 10 passengers. Keep in mind though that with 10 passengers on board you will know them very well by the time that you land at your destination.

The new cabin has been described as “forward-thinking” and features proximity-activated controls, adjustable lighting, touchscreen monitors and Embraer patented flush gaspers. Combining multiple zones of personalization, an advanced cabin control system that allows portable device integration and wireless audio/video streaming, all adding to the sophisticated interior enhancements.

Charter Price

The hourly charter price of these aircraft is remarkably similar – like many aspects of these aircraft. However, please note that there are a number of factors that can effect the price of a private jet charter.

The estimated hourly charter price for the Cessna Citation CJ3+ is $2,750.

In comparison, the estimated hourly charter price for the Embraer Phenom 300E is $3,150.

Purchase Price

This same trend continues when it comes to the actual purchase price of these aircraft.

The Cessna is slightly less expensive, commanding a new list price of $8 million.

Whereas the new list price of the Phenom 300E is $9.45 million. Configure your very own Phenom 300E.

However, perhaps a more important figure than the new price is the depreciation and pre-owned price. Not least because around 85% of customers purchased their private jets pre-owned.

A three year old Phenom 300E has an estimated pre-owned price of $8.25 million. Therefore, over three years the Phenom 300E retains almost 90% of its original value. This is truly incredible.

The Cessna Citation CJ3+, after three years, has an estimated pre-owned price of $6.8 million. This, therefore, results in the CJ3+ retaining 85% of its original value.

Therefore, the depreciation of these aircraft is nearly identical.


So, which is the better aircraft? Which one should you choose?

Both the Cessna CJ3+ and Phenom 300E have similar range figures, ground performance, costs, and depreciation.

However, there are two areas that the Phenom 300E is superior to the CJ3+.

The first area is cruise speed – it can get you where you need to be much quicker. And saving time is the number one objective and benefit of flying by private jet.

The second area is the interior. The Phenom 300E has a larger cabin than the CJ3+, along with a more modern interior. More space and a lower cabin altitude alone will make a significant difference.

Therefore, the Phenom 300E is the aircraft of choice over the Cessna CJ3+. However, it is a close call.


Benedict is a dedicated writer, specializing in in-depth discussions of private aviation ownership and its associated topics.


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