Cessna Aircraft’s single-engine line is likely to experience price hikes as the company seeks to improve profit margins on all of its aircraft, even as sales of some models slump. That was the word from Cessna vice president Jodi Noah here at EAA AirVenture in Oshkosh, Wis., on Monday. “We will be pursuing price increases on a few of the different products primarily because we want to be able to offer the different products in our line-up. Over the years we haven’t necessarily been profitable on some of them, so we are working very hard to get every product to have profitable space so we know we have the ability to go forward. So there will be some strategic price increases on some of the products coming in 2015,” Noah said.
She added that Cessna has “pretty much exercised everything we could at this point” to cut production costs.
Cessna vice president Brad Thress said that previous delays involving the revised/new Citation X, Sovereign, and M2 jets related to their Garmin avionics did not involve any “show stoppers,” but rather were typical software and electrical issues generally encountered at the end of a new aircraft development program. “At the latter part of the program you are usually fighting two challenges; one is nitnoid things you have to fix with the avionics and two is making the electrical system synch up with that because it is typically feeding [it].”
He said that Cessna and Garmin are working together to resolve most issues “in the coming weeks, not months. We are in the final throes of it.”
Thress said that he expected the new M2 to gain certification before the NBAA C onvention in October and noted that Cessna recently completed the first fuselage for the new, under-development Citation Latitude, but planned to use it as a test article. Officially, Cessna currently has five new/revised jet programs under way.
The company also is continuing to work on a new single-engine turboprop that would compete directly with the Piper Meridian and Daher-Socata TBM850; however, company executives declined to offer specifics as to the precise state of that project or the extent of the resources being applied to it. At last year’s AirVenture, Cessna displayed a concept cabin mockup of the aircraft and solicited potential customer feedback.
Noah said the increased-horsepower Caravan EX, now with 867 horsepower, has sold well in Africa, Russia and other foreign markets and the company is hopeful that its revised Corvalis TTx piston single, certified in June, would sell well. Cessna continues to pursue “an extensive certification process” for its jet-A fuel powered Skylane JT-A piston single announced here last year. Noah said the company expects to receive certification for the JT-A in the third quarter of this year.
Cessna also unveiled a limited-edition 206 “Night Sky Edition” turbo Stationair in a customer black, red and white color scheme featuring heat-resistant paint with matching propeller.
Cessna is undertaking several initiatives designed to increase new pilot starts including the launch of a program, in conjunction with Kansas State University, designed to carry college credit for student pilot coursework completed at Cessna Pilot Centers. Cessna also continues to encourage the EAA’s Young Eagles program, making a $100,000 donation on Monday.