Cessna taps Wallan for jet support

 - November 15, 2008, 4:24 AM

Cessna Aircraft has bolstered its fast-growing presence in the Middle East by naming long-time sales representative Wallan Aviation in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia, as an authorized service center for 500-series Citation business jets. Announcing the latest boost to Cessna’s product support infrastructure, senior vice president for customer service Mark Paolucci noted the “considerable” Citation expertise of Wallan Aviation founder Saad Wallan, adding that Arabian Gulf customers “now have access to local service from a top aviation company.”

Wallan Aviation last year placed an order for 25 Cessna airplanes worth about $110 million, including a mix of 11 Citation business jets and 14 single-engine airplanes, 10 of which Wallan will use for a flight school it recently established in Riyadh. The orders were for three Citation Sovereigns; one each of the Citation X, XLS+, CJ3 and CJ2+ models; four Mustangs; 10 Skyhawks and four light-sport SkyCatchers.

The company’s Citation service facility is located at Thumama Airport, 14 miles northeast of Riyadh’s King Khalid International Airport. Cessna (Outdoor Display 1) also recently named Taneja Aerospace & Aviation in Bangalore, India, an authorized service center and Kinch Aviation in Nottinghamshire, UK, an authorized service station and opened a company-owned service center in Spain.

The announcements underscore the growing importance of markets outside North America for the U.S. business jet maker, which currently holds a $15 billion order backlog. Cessna has steadily increased its presence in the Middle East.

At the AVEX airshow held in the Egyptian resort of Sharm el Sheikh earlier this month, Cessna announced the delivery of the third Citation Sovereign to Egypt’s Smart Aviation as part of an order for six of the super-midsize jet and a new order from the Egyptian Aviation Academy for four Mustang very light jets. The academy will be the first pilot training organization in Africa to offer instruction in the VLJ and it is to take delivery of the Mustangs in the fourth quarter of 2009.