The Citation Excel/XLS/XLS+ – A Leader in the Midsized Class

By Jim Mitchell – Executive Sales Director for Elliott Jets

The Citation Excel first started production in 1998 and the most-recent upgrade of this aircraft, the XLS+ is still being produced today. This successful line of aircraft are known for their unique blend of low hourly operating cost, comfortable cabin, ample baggage, and excellent short-field performance. With over 900 aircraft produced in the three generations of the 560XL platform, this is one of the most successful business aircraft platforms ever created. 

The Airframe

The 560XL airframe has a unique ability to provide excellent short-field performance while still offering the comfort of a midsize jet. The initial design combined a shortened version of the same cross-section as the Citation X cabin with an unswept supercritical wing design and tail based on the Citation V. All variations of the 560XL airframe also include trailing link landing gear, which allows for softer landings and taxiing.

All models of the Citation 560XL design have takeoff distances under 4,000 feet and can direct climb to 41,000. The service ceiling for all three models is 45,000 feet. 

With excellent climb performance, at Max Takeoff Weight it can climb to FL 410 in 20 minutes to rapidly reach fuel efficient altitudes. Furthermore, in high/hot conditions, the 560XL is a leader in this class. Even operating  at Max Takeoff Weight out of Aspen, CO at 15 degrees Celcius, this Citation can fly over 1,800 NM without sacrificing speed. Rounding out its flexibility, the 560XL models will have a maximum cruise speed in the 430 to 441 knot range.

Major Differences Between Models

The main differences in the model upgrades typically involve upgrades to the avionics and/or engines. The Citation Excel has two Pratt & Whitney PW545A engines and features a Honeywell Primus 1000 avionics suite. The upgraded Citation XLS kept the Honeywell Primus 1000 avionics suite, but upgraded the engines to the Pratt & Whitney PW545B engines with more thrust to increase performance. The latest model, the XLS+ upgraded both the avionics system and the engines. The Citation XLS+ features a Rockwell Collins Pro Line 21 four-screen LCD EFIS display, replacing the CRT Honeywell system. It also has upgraded Pratt & Whitney PW545C engines with the inclusion of FADEC engine controls. 


At over 18 feet in length, the Citation 560XL’s 422 cubic feet of cabin volume provides comfort for up to nine passengers. The cabin is also typically equipped with a large forward refreshment center. The large cross section, based on the Citation X, has a combination of articulating and berthable seats that track forward and aft. The cabins are also equipped with either a one or two-place forward, side-facing divan. A large storage cabinet was also available from the factory in lieu of the forward side-facing seats. 

This airframe has 80 cubic feet of external baggage and an additional 10 cubic feet in the cabin, giving it the largest baggage capacity in its class. In the first iteration, the Citation Excel, an APU was optional, but is standard on the XLS and XLS+ models, allowing you to power the cabin while keeping it cool in the summer and warm in the winter while on the ground.


All three models have better value retention and experience a lower market depreciation than any competitive airframe. In most instances, the operating costs are either less than competitive airframes, or when comparing the Lear 45/45XR/75, are nearly the same.

Avionics Upgrades

The Garmin G5000 is available for the Citation Excel and XLS.

Both the Citation Excel and XLS qualify for the latest avionics upgrade from Garmin, the G5000. The Garmin G5000 gives Excel and XLS operators an excellent long-term solution to the aging Primus 1000 avionics package. The G5000 replaces all existing Honeywell Primus 1000 avionics including the auto pilot and flight director system. It offers ADS-B out, WAAS/LPV, weight savings and more. This retrofit will be an option for nearly 700 aircraft of the existing Citation Excel and XLS fleet. You can find more information about the G5000 program here.


With a continuous production run of over twenty years and counting, the Citation 560XL is one of the most successful business jet designs ever produced. Pre-owned models of these airplanes have low acquisition and operating costs. Their blend of low costs, excellent performance, and comfort make them the leaders in the mid-cabin business jet class.

To find the right Citation 560XL for you, contact us at or call 844.937.5387.

Jim Mitchell joined Elliott Aviation in 2010. He has been in the aviation business for over 30 years, holds a Bachelors Degree in Business, and has over 2,500 hours of flight time with Commercial, Instrument, and CFI ratings. Jim first started selling used piston aircraft while also managing a full service FBO business. In those years Jim saw first-hand all facets of the aviation business including maintenance, charter, aircraft management, fuel sales, and hangar storage. Prior to joining Elliott, Jim worked for Cessna Aircraft selling new and used Citations. He can be reached at 952.944.1200 or by email at