Between deliveries, aftermarket upgrades, maintenance expansions and prototypes, Cessna Aircraft Company (Booth No. C8843) has a lot to talk about concerning its current and upcoming Citation products during NBAA 13.
Cessna Citation Excel
Cessna Aircraft painted a picture of its mixed fortunes at its NBAA press conference yesterday, with CEO Scott Ernest saying the company was making good progress on its marquis development programs–the new Citation Latitude and Longitude–while acknowledging problems with single-engine piston products, and continuing quarterly financial losses.
With the exception of the heavy jet category, charter flight demand seems to be tailing off at the end of the Northern Hemisphere summer vacation season. The latest forward-looking demand index from online charter portal Avinode shows demand dipping for light and midsize jets over the next 30 days.
FlightSafety International announced a “significant” expansion of the training the company offers for Cessna Citations and Caravans at its learning centers in Orlando, Fla.; San Antonio and Wichita. This includes training for the full Citation Excel/XLS series in Orlando, including a new level-D XLS+ sim outfitted with Rockwell Collins Pro Line 21 avionics; addition of the only existing CJ2+ simulator in San Antonio; and a Cessna Caravan simulator equipped with a Garmin G600 avionics suite that just came online in Wichita.
Yesterday at LABACE Cessna unveiled the cabin mockup of the Citation Latitude for the first time in Brazil, giving show-goers the opportunity to see the type’s capacious cabin. Measuring 77 inches wide and 72 inches in height, the flat-floor cabin offers unprecedented headroom for an aircraft in the midsize class. Cessna offers two cabin configurations, coach and club, with seating for up to nine passengers. Six swivel seats form the basis of both configurations.
The wing and fuselage of the first production Citation M2 were mated this week at Cessna Aircraft’s facility in Wichita. Certification of the M2, an upgraded Citation CJ1 with Garmin G3000 avionics and more powerful Williams FJ44 engines, is expected later this year. Now that the wing mate is completed, the engine installation phase has started and will be followed by functional testing of the aircraft systems, including avionics, hydraulics and flight controls.
Textron, parent company of Cessna Aircraft, held its first-quarter 2013 earnings call yesterday, and the news was not particularly uplifting for its Wichita-based business segment. Customers in the light jet market, who tend to be small business owners, continue to defer purchase decisions, “reflecting continued concerns about their financial outlook,” said Textron chairman and CEO Scott Donnelly. As a result, he continued, Cessna delivered 32 new jets in the first quarter, six fewer than the same quarter last year, “resulting in a segment loss in the quarter of $8 million.”
Though business aviation is still young in China, the country has been quick to make clear its intention not just to be a consumer of imported business aircraft, but to be active as a manufacturer of them too. So far, partnerships with foreign airframers have been the main path to this goal, but now China’s Avic group has started work on its own design for what it calls the China New Generation Business Jet.
Cessna Aircraft rolled out the first production copy of the new Citation X yesterday at its Wichita manufacturing facility, to the applause of some 200 Cessna employees. The upgraded twinjet was first announced at the 2010 NBAA Convention.
Cessna Aircraft rolled out the first New Citation Sovereign yesterday from its Wichita manufacturing facility. Announced in October at the NBAA Convention, the upgraded Sovereign features improved cabin cooling, Garmin G5000 avionics with autothrottles, a new cabin management system and winglets.
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