- December 1, 2008, 6:18 AM
When Cessna announced the formal launch of the Columbus large-cabin jet program earlier this year, chairman, president and CEO Jack Pelton said that it was a good time to build a new airplane despite the economic situation, which has worsened since that announcement. Backing up that assertion, Cessna on October 29 celebrated the start of construction of the 600,000-sq-ft Columbus design and assembly facility at Mid-Continent Airport in Wichita. Cessna and architecture and engineering firms McCluggage Van Sickle & Perry and Professional Engineering Consultants are working toward compliance with the green building standards set by the Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design organization. Against the backdrop of some recently announced cutbacks and staffing reductions on current Citation programs, Cessna said it expects to spend as much as $780 million on the Columbus program and create up to 1,000 new jobs. The $27 million Columbus is scheduled for FAA certification by the end of 2013 and entry-into-service is planned for 2014.