More than 18 months after it was revealed that Cessna was seeking corporate approval to build its largest ever Citation service center in Wichita, Cessna announced last month the project is a go. Construction is set to start before year-end on a 443,000-sq-ft facility at Wichita Mid-Continent Airport on a 150-acre site leased to Cessna by the Wichita Airport Authority. Upon completion of the new $60 million facility, scheduled for summer 2003, Cessna will initially employ an additional 500 to 600 workers, a figure expected to double during the facility’s first five years of operation.
Cessna said the service center will be double the size of the current building and will house multiple aircraft service bays, numerous component repair and overhaul shops, a business center for customers and office space. To get an appreciation of the building’s size, Cessna described it as being 1,600 ft long, equivalent to two-and-a-half city blocks.
“With the continued growth of the Citation fleet, this new service center is necessary to anticipate an even higher level of customer expectations,” said Ron Chapman, senior v-p of customer service. “It is projected that upon completion, we will immediately use 70 percent of the facility’s capacity, while providing our customers improved maintenance scheduling flexibility.” The need for additional maintenance capability is prompted, in part, by the growing fleet of fractionally owned Citations.
“The design of this building will also allow us easily to construct additional hangar bays as the Citation fleet continues to grow,” Chapman added. The new Wichita center will operate on the same 24/7 schedule as the company’s nine other domestic facilities. Once completed, the current Wichita service center will be used as a completion center for the new Citation Sovereign beginning in 2004.
Cessna’s home-base service center is not the only one being replaced by a larger facility. A new Citation service center, located on the west side of Florida’s Orlando International Airport, is scheduled to be completed by next summer. It will have a total of 155,000 sq ft compared with the current 28,800-sq-ft facility.
The new Orlando facility is designed to accommodate all Citation models and will continue to offer a full range of inspections, maintenance, repair, overhaul and other services. Additional amenities will include an expanded aircraft ramp with underground refueling facilities; a fully equipped classroom for advanced employee training; a temperature and humidity-controlled paint room; specialized inventory control areas and environmental systems; and specially equipped wash bays.