Growing Backlog Prompts OEMs To Increase Production

 - April 16, 2007, 11:38 AM

Responding to an increasing number of business jet orders and lengthening backlogs–a boon for manufacturers, but a bane for customers–Cessna, Gulfstream and Raytheon (see item below) are ratcheting up production. Cessna plans to deliver 240 Citations this year (some 60 more than last year) and 270 to 290 next year. At Gulfstream, Nicholas Chabraja, chairman and CEO of parent company General Dynamics, conceded, “We have customers who are complaining that we can’t get them an aircraft to enter into service within a reasonable time.” Industry custom is about 18 months, according to Chabraja. “We are now outside of 24 months, so we have no reasonable alternative but to step up production. Next year’s production is intended to be somewhat higher than this year’s and we are about half sold for next year’s production,” he said, but he gave no precise numbers. The company delivered 41 Gulfstreams in the first half of this year compared with 37 during the same period last year. Last year Gulfstream delivered 78 airplanes.