Cessna’s Chief Sees Light at the End of the Tunnel

 - May 12, 2009, 5:54 AM

Cessna Aircraft chairman, president and CEO Jack Pelton said today at EBACE that he believes the worst is behind us in terms of the economy. As proof, he noted the rising stock market, improved consumer spending, housing market stabilization and the expectation that the gross domestic product will be positive in the third quarter. Historically, business aviation is correlated with corporate profits and lags behind changes in the general economy by 12 to 24 months. While Cessna expects the used aircraft inventory to peak and flight activity to bottom in the third quarter, “The true indication of a turnaround will be increasing orders,” Pelton said. Last year the manufacturer delivered 467 jets, reported revenues of $5.7 billion and “thought we would be delivering 500 jets in 2009,” he noted. “Instead we’ll probably deliver between 290 and 300 jets. We may be a little disappointed, but we have a backlog worth $13 billion and 2009 will still be a very good year.” Nevertheless, Cessna reported the cancellation of 92 jet orders during the first quarter.