Despite a successful outing at the EBACE business aviation trade show a mere three weeks ago in Geneva, Cessna and other business jet makers view the Paris Air Show as an important venue. After all, what Le Bourget lacks in coziness, it more than makes up for in sheer volume with tens of thousands of visitors streaming through its gates each day.
“I think the resurgence of the business jet display at Le Bourget is the logical response to the dramatic growth of the worldwide market for business aircraft in the last few years,” said Cessna chairman, president and CEO Jack Pelton.
Thanks to strengthening sales, operational results for Cessna in the first quarter of this year were described as “nothing short of superb” by Lewis Campbell, chairman, president and CEO of parent company Textron. Campbell said Cessna, in the first quarter, booked orders for 122 Citations, bringing total orders on hand to more than 400. “What is particularly reassuring about the order pattern is that we’re filling slots in 2009, 2010 and beyond,” Campbell said.
Cessna is scheduled to deliver 375 Citations this year compared with 307 in 2006. The manufacturer announced here that it has delivered the 5,000th Citation business jet–a Citation X to charter firm XOJet–a figure that accounts for almost half of all business jets delivered by U.S. manufacturers in the last three decades, it said.
Preparing for the future, Cessna here this week is displaying the Large Cabin Concept mockup it unveiled last year. In addition, the OEM has brought seven airplanes to the static display, including the newest member of the family, a Citation Mustang very light jet.
That Mustang is making its second trip to the Paris salon after its debut appearance at the 2005 show. This time the airplane comes to Le Bourget with fresh EASA certification papers and steep-approach approval clearing hurdles toward approval for the Mustang to fly into European city center airports like London City. Cessna has delivered eight of a total 40 Mustangs scheduled to roll off the production line this year.
Cessna also noted that its developmental models–the Citation CJ4 and XLS+–remain on target for certification and service entry. First flight of the CJ4 is targeted for the first half of next year and deliveries are planned to start in the first half of 2010. The XLS+, Cessna said, is on target for service entry in 2008, with certification anticipated early in the year and first delivery in next year’s fourth quarter.