Cessna’s Columbus Program Hits Six-month Setback
Cessna Aircraft, which announced layoffs totaling roughly 13 percent of its workforce late last year, on Friday sent an e-mail to employees outlining a delay in development of the large-cabin Citation Columbus, as well as further reductions in force, this time in the form of furloughs. According to Cessna CEO Jack Pelton, the current economic conditions “have caused us to extend engineering development work on the Citation Columbus [by] at least six months.” He added, however, that no additional layoffs were planned as a result of that particular decision. Cessna originally anticipated certification of the Columbus in 2013. Pelton also said the Wichita-based aircraft manufacturer is “planning targeted furloughs in production workers on the Citation CJ, Sovereign and Citation X lines.” He did not provide details as to how many would be furloughed; however, the process is to begin in about two weeks. The good news is that Cessna is continuing to move forward on time toward completion of certification flight testing of the new Citation CJ4 and plans to begin deliveries “as originally promised, early next year.” Pelton also said that with the introduction of the CJ4, Cessna will end production of the Encore +, with the last one rolling off the line this summer and final delivery of last outfitted airplane later this year. Cessna has revised its total Citation production forecast for 2009 from the original 535 airplanes downward to 375.