The scale and value of anticipated charter bookings for the rest of January and into early next month has taken a predictable dip after the busy Christmas and New Year period.
Cessna Aircraft has started production of the Citation M2 at its Independence, Kan. facility, the company announced today. The front and aft cabin assemblies for the light business jet, which is a derivative of the out-of-production CJ1, are built at Cessna’s Wichita facility and then transported to Independence for final assembly and delivery. S/N 800, a demonstrator aircraft, is slated to roll off the assembly line in April.
Cessna Aircraft plans to expand its network of “factory-owned, authorized service centers (ASCs)” to 15, by acquiring Jet Aviation’s maintenance, repair and overhaul (MRO) facilities in Dusseldorf, Germany, and Zurich, Switzerland. Both facilities, which will represent the fifth and sixth such facilities in Europe, are currently independent Citation service centers.
Textron subsidiary Bell Helicopter announced today that it will invest more than $10 million to expand its completion and customer delivery facilities in Piney Flats, Tenn. The additions will include the purchase of a 150,000-sq-ft building adjacent to the site that will house customization and completions of light and medium aircraft as well as the site’s shipping and receiving operations. The project is expected to add approximately 125 new jobs at the location.
JP Morgan is stirring the Hawker Beechcraft bankruptcy pot, suggesting in its December Aerospace and Defense: Balance of Power report that “acquisition of the company is still possible.” The financial services company named Embraer, Textron (parent of Cessna and Bell Helicopter) and General Dynamics (Gulfstream and Jet Aviation) as entities that might benefit from such a deal.
The analyst added, “We anticipate that other companies may be interested in acquiring Beechcraft if the price is right as we see a good strategic fit in several cases.”
A senior AgustaWestland executive told AIN late last week that the company was giving serious consideration to building production models of the AW609 civil tiltrotor in the U.S., possibly in Texas. Robert LaBelle, managing director of the AgustaWestland Tilt-Rotor Co., said the aircraft initially would be built partially in Italy and the U.S., but that the ultimate decision on where to conduct final assembly would be “driven by the customer base” and that “35 percent of that is predicted to be in the United States.”
Markus Bucher, previously COO of Pilatus Aircraft, has been named CEO and chairman of the Swiss airframer’s executive board, effective January 1. He succeeds Oscar Schwenk, who will remain chairman of the board of directors.
Fractional aircraft provider Flexjet has named Deanna White as president. Previously she was Bombardier subsidiary’s v-p of finance and administration.
Cessna Aircraft signed a contract with China Aviation Industry General Aircraft (Caiga) to form a joint-venture company to perform final assembly of Cessna Caravan turboprop singles in Shijiazhuang, China, for the Chinese market. The contract, announced today, stems from the strategic framework agreement that Cessna entered into with Caiga parent company Aviation Industry Corporation of China (Avic) in March.
Bell Helicopter has announced a substantial investment in its support of operations in China. The OEM has signed a memorandum of understanding to assist with the establishment of a maintenance training facility in Guangdong Province. The MOU with Guangzhou Civil Aviation College focuses on training for the Bell 206L and Bell 407 and includes access to training-course materials, electronic training systems and continued support throughout training.
Vancouver-based Avcorp won a $24.7 million award yesterday from Cessna Aircraft due to damages suffered as a result of the Wichita aircraft manufacturer’s transitioning contracted production work from Avcorp. The two parties could not come to terms in mediation and negotiations after the December 2010 announcement about the transition of Avcorp’s production work to Cessna, so the matter was referred to binding arbitration. The arbitrator ruled in favor of Avcorp and all counterclaims from Cessna were denied.