Cessna has received European Aviation Safety Agency airworthiness approval for the Citation Mustang, the first very light jet to be certified on this side of the Atlantic. Deliveries to European buyers are expected to begin “later this summer,” according to Cessna chairman, president and chief executive Jack Pelton.
Cessna has booked orders for 300 Mustang’s, 100 of them destined for Europe. The airplane has been approved to operate steep instrument approaches at an angle of more than 4.5 degrees, the first step toward gaining approval for operations at European city center airports like London City with non-standard approach glidepaths.
Pelton said four Citation Mustangs had been delivered as of last week, with 10 more slated to be handed over during the second quarter of the year. Cessna said the first Citation Mustang, leased from the owner following delivery late last year, has logged more than 80 hours, while a second customer aircraft has accumulated some 25 hours, with two other examples also having been handed over to customers. Thirteen Citation Mustang customers have completed type-rating training with FlightSafety International in Wichita, Kansas. Initial European training will begin at the end of the year.
Pelton reported “phenomenal” business momentum with global markets strengthening, especially in Russia and Eastern Europe. Having delivered 252 Citations in 2005 and 307 last year, he said the company would deliver 375 this year. Almost 50 percent of 2006 Citation orders had been for export. Current order backlog is valued at some $90 billion–“the greatest ever,” he said.
Cessna reported there were now more than 750 Citations operating in Europe, while almost 100–including the 150th Citation Sovereign–would be delivered to the region this year. The first European Encore+ would be delivered during July to September. The Citation fleet has recorded more than 20 million flying hours since service entry in 1972, during which time almost 5,000 examples have been handed over to customers.
Cessna says that development of the CJ4 and Citation XLS+ is “proceeding very well, on schedule.” Pelton said, “We’re finding particularly strong interest for both aircraft in Europe,” partly due to positive economic conditions. The XLS+ is scheduled for certification in the first quarter of 2008 and the CJ4 in early 2010.