MEBAA Convention News

Cessna Sees Some Light in the Middle East

 - December 8, 2010, 1:35 AM

Despite recent industry forecasts that call for 2011 to look much like 2010, Mark Paolucci, Cessna Aircraft's new senior vice president of sales and marketing, said at the company's MEBA press conference yesterday, "We are seeing increased activity in new and used aircraft sales. That's a much better sign than this time last year. We are seeing light at the end of the tunnel." The U.S. manufacturer is, during the downturn, continuing to invest much of its revenue in new product developments and service offerings to prepare for increased sales in the future.

"We've seen steady growth in the midsize-cabin sector in this region with aircraft like the Citation Sovereign and XLS, even when the market has really been dominated by large-cabin aircraft," added Cessna's international sales vice president Trevor Esling. The Sovereign carries as many as eight passengers plus two pilots over distances of up to 3,000 nm at speeds of up to 458 knots.

"There is much mileage left in the Sovereign in key territories here in Middle East such as in Saudi Arabia and the UAE," said Esling. "Egypt, in fact, is now one of our largest Sovereign markets outside the US with 14 aircraft. We're still delivering aircraft to Egypt, as well as, to parts of North Africa, like Morocco, Algeria, Libya and Tunisia."

When the discussion turned to the new Citation Ten, Esling said there are currently six or seven of the current model Citation X (its designation will soon change from the numerical X to an alphabetical version Ten) spread around between Abu Dhabi and Saudi Arabia, with several unconfirmed orders for the new version of the world's fastest certified business jet.

The Citation Ten-expected to begin deliveries in 2014-features standard winglets (optional on the X), improved engine thrust, a front cabin stretch of 15 inches and a new interior. The cabin will also feature a highly integrated cabin management system, and the cockpit will sport a Garmin 5000 three-tube flight deck to replace the current Honeywell version. The Citation Ten will offer unrestricted climbs direct to FL450, which increases the aircraft's range to about 3,300 nm. Against the traditional headwind, the Citation Ten can reach London from Riyadh, but not quite make London from Dubai without a sto