There is still plenty of growth potential in the Middle East business aviation market, according to Cessna (Static Display P4), which has singled out Saudi Arabia as the country most likely to lead a resurgence in demand. According to Mark Paolucci, Cessna’s senior vice president for sales, two of the new additions to the Citation line–the Latitude and the Ten–are particularly well suited to owners and operators the region.
While acknowledging that the global recession has negatively impacted the Middle East, the region’s economies remain “fundamentally strong,” Paolucci said ahead of the Dubai Air Show. Morocco is the only other country that the U.S. manufacturer specifically mentioned as showing “good potential.” It also said governments and individuals (as opposed to corporations), form the majority of its customers in the Middle East.
Cessna operates an authorized Citation service center in the Saudi city of Riyadh and plans to open another soon in the Egyptian capital Cairo.
Looking at Cessna’s range of models, Paolucci said the mid-size Citation Ten should be very attractive to Middle East customers. Maximum range will be 3,245 nm, enabling it to fly nonstop from Riyadh to London. Projected top speed, 527 knots, is forecast to be even higher than that of its predecessor, the Citation X. Seating up to nine passengers and two pilots, the Ten is 15 inches longer than the original Citation X. This translates into extra passenger legroom in the forward club seating area. The new cabin also offers more storage.
The Citation Ten program is said to be on track for first flight by year-end, while deliveries are slated to start in the second half of 2013. The aircraft’s list price stands at $21.495 million.
Further down in the Citation line, the $14.9 million 680A Latitude, with its spacious, flat-floor cabin, will become “a favorite with Middle East customers,” Paolucci predicted. At 77 inches, it is Cessna’s widest cabin ever, and it is six feet high. Standard cabin seating accommodates eight passengers in a single-club with a forward, dual side-facing couch.
Positioned between the Citation XLS+ and Citation Sovereign in Cessna’s product line, the Citation Latitude offers a range of 2,000 nm, enabling it to fly nonstop from Dubai to Cairo, Egypt, against winds. First flight of the Citation Latitude prototype is expected in mid-2014, with entry into service in 2015.o