Textron closed its $1.4 billion acquisition of Beechcraft on March 14, bringing together Cessna Aircraft and Beechcraft to form Textron Aviation. Scott Ernest, Cessna’s president and CEO since 2011, was tapped to lead Textron Aviation as CEO. Meanwhile, Bill Boisture, Beechcraft’s chairman and CEO since 2009, was excluded from the Textron Aviation senior leadership team and “is moving on to new opportunities,” a Textron spokesman told AIN.
Airbus is here at ABACE highlighting the cabin features of its ACJ319, which the OEM feels is particularly well suited to Asian needs. Approximately 25 ACJs (the ACJ319 being only one of the models Airbus is offering as a business jet) are based in the Asia Pacific region.
The People’s Republic of China government has done much to make China more “executive aviation friendly,” according to Embraer Executive Jets. But obstacles remain to business aviation growth, said the Brazilian manufacturer.
Airbus Helicopters is making its public debut in China this week for the first time since the company formerly known as Eurocopter was renamed as part of a wider restructuring that has seen other parts of its EADS parent group channel the marketing power of the Airbus brand. Airbus airliners have sold well here in the People’s Republic, but then so have the “Eurocopter” rotorcraft, which still lay a strong claim to being the market leader in China.
U.S. aviation services provider Castle & Cooke has been an ABACE exhibitor since 2012, explaining the role of a fixed-base operator (FBO) to show attendees who might not be familiar with the fueling and ground-handling services such a company provides to private aviation. As the company returns to the Shanghai show for the third time, it is providing a translator (Booth H431) to more fully answer attendee questions.
Cirrus Aircraft’s first production conforming Vision SF50 very light jet, dubbed “C-Zero” (C0), achieved its maiden flight last month from Duluth International Airport, where the company has its headquarters. V1–a nonconforming SF50 prototype of the all-composite, single-engine jet–has been flying July 3, 2008.
Gulfstream Aerospace’s substantial investment in establishing China’s first factory-owned service center for business aircraft appears to be paying off as the U.S. airframer prepares to add support capability for its latest G650 and G280 models later this year.
Bell Helicopter revealed at the end of March that it has sold three Bell 505 Jet Ranger Xs to China Star Aero Investment. The sale was made at Heli-Expo, held in Anaheim, California, in February, but not announced at the time. The agreement includes an option to purchase an additional seven aircraft.
Bell said that China Star Aero will use the new helicopter as part of the so-called “Beautiful China” tourism campaign. This will involve an aerial sightseeing initiative, which is supported by China’s central government.
Bell Helicopter is stepping up efforts to bring its “short light single” helicopter to market, having formally unveiled the new model as the 505 Jet Ranger X at the Heli-Expo show in Anaheim, California, in February. Here at ABACE, the company is exhibiting with its Chinese distributor Aerochine (Booth P529) and is also promoting its new twin-engine Bell 525.
VistaJet expects to have its new operation in China up and running by the end of 2014 if it achieves its goal of getting its local air operators certificate approved by early in the fourth quarter of this year. Ahead of this week’s ABACE show, the Europe-based private flight provider was giving no further details of its local partnership arrangements for the China operation, but it has previously been in discussion with Beijing Airlines.