Cessna Will Build Latitude and Sovereign in China

 - March 23, 2012, 2:15 PM
Cessna CEO Scott Ernest expects the company's agreements with China "will help take the industry to the next level.”

Cessna Aircraft and the Aviation Industry Corp of China (Avic) signed “two strategic agreements to jointly develop general and business aviation in the People’s Republic of China” today. In an announcement broad on concept and thin on detail, Cessna said, “The agreements together pave the way for a range of business jets, utility single-engine turboprops and single-engine piston aircraft to be manufactured and certified in China.”

Unanswered at original posting time were AIN’s questions about which models will be built in China and on what timetable, and what the effects will be on aircraft manufacturing in Wichita. Later this afternoon, a Cessna spokeswoman told AIN, “The details of our agreements are still under discussion, therefore we do not have an anticipated date to provide regarding timing of first completed aircraft coming off the line. Aircraft to be produced in Chengdu and sold in China include the Sovereign and Latitude. We will also work in cooperation to develop a new business jet. We remain committed to production of Citations in Kansas. In fact, thanks to the ongoing support and highly skilled workforce we have decided the Latitude will be produced here in Wichita for sale in all markets outside China.”

The Cessna press release continued: “The first agreement between Avic and Cessna/Textron is an overarching agreement between these companies that is intended to lead to the formation of joint ventures that will pursue various activities pertaining to the development of general aviation businesses in China, including the establishment of an aircraft service network in China. The second is a specific cooperation agreement [among] Cessna Aircraft Company, Avic Aviation Techniques Co. Ltd. (AAT) and the Chengdu government to enter into negotiations to establish a joint venture to produce midsize Cessna business jet models, as well as a potential new product for the business jet market. Within the next year, Cessna and Avic are seeking to launch joint-venture companies which will focus on implementing the initial phase of the strategic agreements.”

Scott Ernest, Cessna president and CEO, said: “We are extremely pleased to be entering into these strategic agreements. China’s market potential is tremendous and therefore represents an exciting opportunity for Cessna. China recognizes general aviation offers the foundation to support its national air transportation needs for the future. These agreements will help take the industry to the next level.”

This article was updated at 4:15 p.m. with Cessna’s response to AIN’s original questions. 



At the end of the day, will the new aircraft built in China be to FAA standard or will, as the 162 be built to ASTM standard? Cessna is not the first, or the last in moving its production to minimize costs to Asia but at what cost? The Chinese freely admit that they are not technologically superior in design but what they thrive in taking existing designs, replicating and improving them. Textron, (Parent of Cessna) has moved past exporting its manufacturing, to its intellectual capital which means they are building their competitors of tomorrow. It has happened in countless other industries and now it is aviation's turn. I say, that short term profit should not over rule long term strategy and that this sell out will negatively impact an industry titan, overall.

Do you mind if I quote a couple of your posts as long as I provide
credit and sources back to your webpage? My website is in the
very same area of interest as yours and my users would genuinely benefit from a lot of the information you present here.

Please let me know if this okay with you. Thanks!

Thank you for your interest in AINonline.

All material published on AINonline and BJTonline is copyrighted by AIN Publications. We encourage links to this material, which may be done without the permission of AIN Publications.

To obtain permission to use this copyrighted material in any other way, please fill out the online form “Order Reprints,” which you will find under “Reprints,” located in the black horizontal bar at the top of this and all webpages on AINonline.

R. Randall Padfield, Editor-in-Chief, AIN Publications, rpadfield@ainonline.com


As a former Cessna employee, it is my opinion that Dwayne Wallace would do numerous snap rolls in his grave were he to become aware of this generation's sellout to China. If anyone is not familiar with Mr. Wallace, just "google" him and learn about the man who made Cessna what it is today.


Regarding the Avionics article that I just read, my opinion of all this video game technology is that it is fine for video games. As far as computer control of an aircraft through a cockpit filled with these video games, it appears to me that engineering has reached the lunatic stage. The Air France disaster graphically illustrates why my opinion is this negative. The crew obviously had forgotten, or never knew, how to keep an aircraft level using only a combination of needle, ball, airspoeed, and rate of climb basic instruments. Had the crew ignored the flashing lights, multiple warning voices from the computers that never heard of needle, ball, and airspeed, they just might have remembered the basic teachings of their long forgotten instructor who no doubt told them at some point in their training to "aviate, communicate, and navigate", in that order. Automation is wonderful, until it supercedes the pilot. One other thing, cables and push-pull tubes worked wonderfully well for many years of moving flight controls. Control  of the aircraft now relies on wire and computers to move the control surfaces. I do not see any improvement there.

I am a retired pilot, and I hold a U.S. ATP certificate, and also a U.K Transport License.

Show comments (5)