For a market that company president and CEO Scott Ernest describes as remaining soft, Cessna is continuing its product development schedule. During the company’s press conference here yesterday he announced that the Wichita airframer has launched a new version of its midsize Citation Sovereign, and invited show attendees to visit the new aircraft, which has been under development for the past year-and-a-half, at the static display. Three of the upgraded Sovereigns are currently flying and have thus far accumulated approximately 800 flight-test hours.
Before digging into the details of each of the light jet markets, it’s worth noting some global factors affecting the market. In 2012, the big story in the light jet market was Europe and the devaluing euro. As the light jet market typically trades in U.S. dollars, with the euro dropping nearly 20 percent in value compared to last year, European sellers saw an opportunity to take advantage of the strong dollar and liquidate at relatively lower dollar values for their assets, yielding a higher amount of euros.
Irvine, Calif.-based JetSuite announced an order today for 15 Cessna Citation CJ3s, which will double the size of its fleet and expand its offerings beyond the Embraer Phenom 100. The charter membership firm started taking bookings today for the new, longer-range CJ3s, though inaugural flights won’t begin until November 19. During the first year of operations, JetSuite’s CJ3 service will be available between any points east of the Mississippi and from the East to and from Aspen and Vail, and through Eastern Canada and the Caribbean.
Columbia Avionics & Aircraft Services has received FAA STC approval for installation of touch-screen Garmin GTN-750 and GTN-650 GPS navcoms in the Cessna Citation 650. Similar STCs are pending for Citation Models 500, 501, 550, 551, S550 and 560, the Columbia, Mo.-based company said. The STC includes various combinations of the GTN navcoms, Garmin GTX-33ES Mode-S transponders, Garmin GDL-69/A weather datalink and a marker beacon receiver.
Austrian charter company GlobeAir is to take delivery of its eleventh Cessna Citation Mustang today, making it the largest operator of the type in the world. The company has 29 percent of the entry-level jet segment market share in Europe, and is aiming to push that figure up to 55 percent over the next two years.
Pratt & Whitney Canada claims to have improved turnaround times for customers by 20 percent through a number of advances and innovations. For example, its online diagnostic tool enables customers using its PW300 turbofan, PW100 turboprop and PW200 turboshaft engine families to diagnose their engine issues quickly.
Here at the EBACE show, the engine maker is introducing a new product called flight acquisition storage transmission (FAST). This automatically acquires, stores and transmits engine and aircraft flight data for analysis for planned maintenance.
Cessna remains optimistic about Europe. “In spite of all the negative news you get in the press about economic activity in Europe, our order inquiry activity from [that region] has remained very positive,” said Brad Thress, Cessna senior vice president for business jets.
Uvalde, Texas-based Sierra Industries has been certified by Mexico’s Dirección General de Aeronáutica Civil (DGAC) to inspect, repair and modify Mexican-registered aircraft, from piston singles to business jets.
Operating out of a 90,000-sq-ft facility, Sierra Industries also specializes in modifying older Cessna Citations for better performance. Additionally, the MRO offers PMA parts manufacturing, in-house avionics support and on-field paint and interior specialists.
Cessna is looking to give longer legs to its new mid-size $14.9 million Citation Latitude in a move that should suit the Asian market. The company recently announced a 15-percent range increase for the aircraft, to 2,300 nm (4,257 km) and was quick to point out all the interAsian city pairings this made possible.
The FAA published a new AD on March 21st for the Cessna Citation 560XL. The AD was prompted by reports of jammed or stiff rudder actuation after water froze on the rudder bias cables and pulleys in the tail cone at high altitude.