EBACE draws to a close this evening at the end of a successful show that has already seen new products launched, partnerships announced and aircraft ordered, with a full day of business still to go. Joint hosts EBAA and NBAA were pleased to see the show grow since the 2013 edition with nearly 500 exhibitors participating, an increase of 8 percent. Booth spaces sold for the show totaled 2,276 sq m (24,500 sq ft), up 4 percent from 2013. The contiguous nature of the revised hall layout has drawn approval from exhibitors and show visitors alike.
Textron Aviation (Booth 6113), here for the first time since it integrated Cessna, Beechcraft and Hawker, has a number of programs in development or just certified. The transition to a unified company is taking place in customer support, too, with maintenance technicians undergoing cross-training on all of each brand’s models. However, while Hawker jets continue to be supported, the company has no plan to produce any more aircraft under the brand, Textron Aviation president and CEO Scott Ernest said during a press conference on Tuesday.
Scott Ernest, who joined Textron and took over as CEO of the company’s Cessna subsidiary in May 2011, recently presided over one of the largest manufacturer mergers in aviation history this year, the integration of Cessna and Beechcraft. In March Textron bought Beechcraft for $1.4 billion and placed the Cessna and Beechcraft brands under the newly formed Textron Aviation, headed by Ernest as president and CEO.
The world’s leading business jet manufacturers posted financial results for the first quarter of 2014 in the weeks leading up to this year’s EBACE show. Overall, the latest numbers are somewhat encouraging in the context of the industry’s slow recovery but there are significant variations in the details. Here AIN provides a summary of the main conclusions.
Bombardier Aerospace: Bizjet Deliveries Up, Backlog Grows
FAA certification of the new Cessna Citation X, recently redesignated as the X+, is apparently just around the corner. Flight testing of the super-midsize jet concluded in late April, Scott Donnelly, the chairman and CEO of Cessna parent Textron, noted last week during an investor conference call. “At this point it’s now just into the paperwork process,” he commented.
The parent company of Bell Helicopter has formed TRU Simulation + Training to provide pilot and flight crew training to the military and commercial markets. TRU was formed by combining two recent Textron acquisitions–Mechtronix, located in Montreal, Quebec, and Opinicus, located in Lutz, Fla.—with a portion of Textron Systems unit AAI Logistics of Goose Creek, S.C. Annual revenue for the new business is expected to exceed $100 million. TRU CEO James Takats said the unit will help Textron become “a major force” in the rapidly growing training and simulation business.
Randy Soutiere has joined Elliott Aviation as v-p of operational support. In his new role, Soutiere will oversee engineering, quality control, customer support, lean manufacturing, parts and FBO services. The newly created position is part of an organizational restructuring that appoints Ed Chevrestt to the new position of v-p of operations. Elliott says the changes represent its sharpening focus on customer support. Soutiere’s 30 years of experience include a long career with Cessna, where he was most recently general manager of the Mesa, Ariz.
First-quarter revenues at Textron Aviation, which includes Cessna and Beechcraft, were up $77 million, to $785 million, thanks to the mid-March acquisition of Beechcraft, higher jet deliveries and higher aftermarket sales but offset by fewer pre-owned sales and falling revenue at CitationAir. The division recorded a profit of $14 million in the quarter versus a loss of $8 million a year ago, helped by firmer pricing and higher jet volumes.
Textron Aviation issued layoff notices yesterday for 750 full-time and contract employees at Cessna Aircraft and Beechcraft as it integrates these businesses following Textron’s acquisition of Beechcraft last month. “As a part of bringing together these businesses, we have identified redundancies in our global workforce that have ultimately led to some very difficult decisions that affect the sizing of our business,” the company said in a statement.
Bell Helicopter signed a purchase agreement with Xinjiang Tianyun General Aviation for a new Bell 407GX. The Chinese company will use the helicopter for sightseeing tours, executive transport and agriculture support. “We are delighted to select the Bell 407GX to be our first helicopter,” said Xinjiang Tianyun GA executive director Zhu Yue. “It is durable and versatile, exactly what our company was looking for to fit the missions we are planning.”