For Cessna Aircraft, this year is bringing the culmination of efforts that began during the economic downturn and now are bearing fruit. In 2013, the company (here at Booth 7091) is incorporating into production six new aircraft models and highlighting its six factory-owned service centers in Europe.
“We’re putting the new service network front and center at EBACE,” said Brad Thress, senior v-p for business jets. “We have six service centers that we now own and operate in Europe, which is something that will resonate with our European customers. We think that’s the single biggest driver of loyalty–how well we take care of the airplane.” General managers from each of the six facilities are at Cessna’s EBACE chalet this week.
Last year, Cessna opened its largest European service center in Valencia, Spain. This facility services all Citation models. Growth also came from acquisitions, which include Doncaster in the UK late last year and the former Jet Aviation facilities in Zurich and Dusseldorf. Cessna also owns a full-service facility in Paris and a shared facility in Prague with sister company Bell Helicopter, which handles line maintenance for Citations, primarily for Eastern European customers. Another 11 companies in Europe are Cessna authorized service centers, and many of these companies are joining Cessna at EBACE.
With its growing service center network in Europe, when one facility is too busy, Cessna can shift customers to another that has available capacity. “Paris is overwhelmed with business,” Thress said, “while others are slightly below, so we’re able to flex to some of the facilities where we have more capacity. Zurich is very busy.”
The next big step for Cessna’s service center network is integration into the company’s new SAP enterprise resource management system. The U.S. facilities are currently embroiled in the transition to the new system, while the European service centers will be added in the next few months. “As with any new system, there are things to work out,” said Thress.
After all the service center acquisitions last year, Cessna is taking a breather. “Our focus for the next couple of years is to complete the integration of the ones we acquired and work them into the system and operate them efficiently,” he said. “Then we’ll see what customers are [requesting] with respect to more capability.”
The six new models that Cessna is incorporating into production this year include, on the jet side, the M2 and new Sovereign and X, and on the propeller side, the more powerful Caravan EX, diesel-powered 182 JT-A and the speedy Corvalis TTx piston. “This year we’ll see the benefit of all these investments,” said Thress.
At the EBACE static park, Cessna is displaying a Citation CJ2+, Citation CJ4 and Citation XLS+.