“The fleet is growing and we want to make the right decision at the right time. We are in the midst of discussions about Mesa but there’s no decision so far,” a Cessna spokeswoman told AIN. The comment comes on the heels of an announcement by Mesa Mayor Keno Hawker in his State of the City address that Cessna would be building its 10th domestic Citation Service Center there.
Mike Redenbaugh has made quite an impact at Bell in the 18 months since he became the company’s CEO. He moved in at something of a low point in the company’s fortunes, with an aging product line and the embarrassment of competitor Eurocopter claiming more than 50 percent of the domestic turbine market.
Yingling Aviation recently opened a new 15,500-sq-ft facility that will include 12,000 sq ft of hangar space in addition to a customer spec room, shops and offices. In recent years the Wichita-based company has focused on its Oasis program, installing executive/VIP cabins in Cessna Caravans.
Over the past week Cessna Aircraft has made headlines for buying bankrupt Columbia Aircraft and for a decision to manufacture its SkyCatcher light sport aircraft in China. As if that weren’t enough, the first Citation Mustang entered charter service this week, and Cessna is expected to soon announce the launch of its Large Cabin Concept business jet.
Business Jets: In 2007 demand for business jets surges
Cessna Aircraft broadened its single-engine aircraft line yesterday after the company submitted the winning $26.4 million bid for bankrupt Columbia Aircraft, a Bend, Ore.-based producer of high-performance, all-composite piston singles. The Wichita manufacturer disclosed at the NBAA Convention in September that it had signed a letter of intent to buy Columbia, though the bankrupt airframer still had to be formally auctioned.
A Cessna spokeswoman confirmed that the company plans to add 1,500 jobs next year, mostly in Wichita, largely due to growing sales of its Citation business jets. The Wichita-based manufacturer estimates that it will deliver 380 business jets, including 44 entry-level Mustangs, this year and expects to ship 470 twinjets, including nearly 100 Mustangs, next year.
A Florida jury has found Cessna liable for the 1989 crash of a 185 in Florida and returned a record $480 million verdict against the Wichita-based manufacturer. Nobody died in the accident, but the three occupants of the 1966-model taildragger were injured in the crash and ensuing fire. The award consists of $400 million in punitive damages and $80 million in compensatory damages.
Bell Helicopter Textron last month announced plans to lay off 270 workers at its Fort Worth-area plants. The job cuts will affect both union-represented hourly workers and salaried employees. A spokesman for the rotorcraft builder said further cutbacks were possible as the company reevaluated its position in the slumping world helicopter market and as the effects of investigations and slowdowns in the U.S.
Cessna announced a new satellite-based, centrally managed parts inventory system for its Citation service centers. The system allows each center easy access to inventory availability at any Cessna-owned facility; previously, each center managed its own inventory. Separately, the Wichita-based aircraft OEM conducted a two-year study of repeat orders to establish sufficient inventory requirements for the most sought-after parts.