Cessna Deliveries to Drop 20 Percent This Year

 - January 30, 2009, 2:21 AM

Textron, parent company of Cessna Aircraft and Bell Helicopter, released its fourth-quarter and full-year financial results this morning amid continued concerns of a weakening economy. In a conference call with reporters, chairman and CEO Lewis Campbell underscored the seriousness of the situation. “We believe 2009 is setting up to be the most challenging year ever for most manufacturing companies.” While Cessna delivered 131 jets in the fourth quarter of 2008–bringing the full-year totals to a record 467 jets–the company today announced another 2,000 job cuts and lowered its 2009 delivery estimates to 375 aircraft due to the economy’s having what Campbell described as “an especially egregious impact on the business jet industry.” Cessna reported gross orders for only 30 new jets in the last quarter of 2008, along with 23 cancellations of previously ordered jets and “an unprecedented number of deferrals.” The news for Bell was somewhat better, with the company predicting delivery of 180 commercial helicopters this year, a conservative increase from last year’s tally of 167. Both divisions posted increases in their backlogs over the year, with Cessna’s rising $1.9 billion to $14.5 billion, and Bell’s increasing by $2.4 billion to a total backlog of $6.2 billion.