Production of Cessna Aircraft’s new Citation Latitude is on schedule, and the company expects that full airframes will be on the manufacturing lines by year-end. The midsize business jet is scheduled to fly in the first quarter of next year. The Wichita-based aircraft manufacturer has already started building test articles, and has moved from engineering, analysis and modeling to cutting metal. Meanwhile, Cessna started a 19-city tour in the U.S. last week that showcases a Citation Latitude cabin mockup.
One of the aircraft parked at the NBAA static display at the Las Vegas Convention Center during the NBAA Convention in October was a highly modified Cessna Citation 501SP.
Cessna came out swinging against the Embraer challenge in late September and at the NBAA Convention last month, unveiling two additional Citations (with varying degrees of freshness) to confront two of the Brazilian manufacturer’s recent clean-sheet offerings.
Cessna’s first-quarter revenues of $556 million were up by $123 million from the same period a year ago, but the Textron division still managed to sustain a larger operating loss–$38 million versus $24 million last year.
Cessna has initiated a program designed to reduce the lead time required for interior refurbishment of classic Citations. Under the RightNow Interiors program, Cessna’s Citation service centers will stock pre-selected, certified interior design materials, eliminating the typical eight- to 12-week lead time necessary to order and receive materials for interior refurbishments.
Buoyed by its Bell and Cessna properties, Textron reported second-quarter profits up 23 percent from the same period last year, chairman, president and CEO Lewis Campbell announced last month. Pointing to a backlog of 1,638 business jets at Cessna, Textron reaffirmed its outlook for the remainder of this year and forecast a solid market for the Citation line through 2011.
At press time, as many as 50 of the 183 Citation Xs delivered worldwide had yet to be inspected for “very small cracks” in the elevator hinge fittings that were originally discovered during a routine inspection on April 20 of a Citation X at the Wichita Citation Service Center. Subsequent inspections revealed several other Citation Xs with similar cracks. On April 22, Cessna ordered all Citation Xs grounded until they were inspected.
Cessna will occupy Room B313 in the Georgia World Congress Center for most of today and tomorrow with detailed maintenance and operations sessions covering the entire Citation line.
Cessna has received European Aviation Safety Agency airworthiness approval for the Citation Mustang, the first very light jet to be certified on this side of the Atlantic. Deliveries to European buyers are expected to begin “later this summer,” according to Cessna chairman, president and chief executive Jack Pelton.
Cessna said last month it will increase production of its Citation X by more than 65 percent from 2006 to 2010, to meet “growing demand,” primarily from non-U.S. buyers. Such demand would reverse a five-year downward trend in which 12 Citation Xs were delivered last year compared with 14 in 2005, 15 in 2004, 18 in 2003, 31 in 2002 and 34 in 2001. “The business jet market outside the U.S.
- Page 1